Inter-Community Volunteer Fire Department recognized its members at their annual banquet Saturday night.

Fire Chief Nick Morton recognized the work they’ve done within the last year, including recruiting, training, and their work toward the building of a second fire station

“To my members, thank y’all,” Morton said. “I can’t thank y’all enough for what you do. I really love the group that we have here; I love the family that we’ve always had, but that we are becoming more and more by the year I feel like. I love the closeness. We’ve had a few members this year that have had little ones, and some things didn’t go as planned and were rocky in the beginning, and there’s been members pulled together and helped those families out. We check on each other, we help each other no matter what it is, and that’s just really special.”

Before the meal, Department President David Ribb opened up the banquet in prayer.

“Lord we ask that you watch over us,” he prayed. “We get out and do what we do because we want to help others. We’re not looking for anything out of it, we just ask that you give us the tools we need to help us go the way we need to and help us help others in the area.”

Three members were given awards during the program.

The first award was given to Albert Williams for being the Most Improved Firefighter.

“As we grow as a department, and as we grow as people, we have to continually grow as people, and that’s the reason for this award,” Jason Barnett said. “Who has improved themselves the most for the sake of this department and for the sake of the county? ... Albert’s been with us for about three years now. He’s got a full time job during the day Monday through Friday from 7 in the morning to 6 in the afternoon, so he ain’t available during the day, but if it’s a weekend or it’s a night call he does his best to get up and go; he’s been helping us in a lot of our structure fire, accidents, grass fires, all kinds of things. So we definitely appreciate his help and his willingness to improve and better our community.”

Next, Bryan Murff was given an appreciation of service award.

“There’s an individual in here that for years and years and years, much longer than I have been in the fire service, has always went above and beyond for the county and outside the county and everywhere and in multiple ways,” Morton said. “... Bryan is a man of many hats. He is just completely ate up with the fire service and law enforcement over all, and he is a full time Panola County constable. He is the Carthage Fire Department Assistant Chief, the Clayton Fire Department Assistant Chief. He also works seasonal with us at the Forest Service. ... It doesn’t matter where he’s at or what he’s doing, he’ll just about drop it at any time to run over, grab one of our trucks and go to a call or respond direct to the fire, whatever it may be... He is an asset to us and the county as a whole, I hope he stays around a really really long time, and I’m just very very lucky to call him one of my close friends as well.”

Lastly, the 2019 Firefighter of the Year award was given to Dan Morton.

“He goes above and beyond all the time, is always willing to train, I mean he’s come so far in the four years he’s been on the department,” (Nick) Morton said. “He’s there when we need him all the time, super great at up letting trucks here and there to get worked on, to get inspection stickers, whatever it may be, rarely misses a call, never misses a meeting. Tonight I would like to present the 2019 firefighter of the year award to my dad, Dan Morton.”