Miller Ferry Fire Muster

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 10, 2011

By Shavonne Potts
SALISBURY — Junior firefighters proved they were made of some tough stuff Saturday as they braved the heat in full gear for the annual Miller Ferry Junior Fire Muster.
This is the fourth year of the competition, which combines agility and strength tests.
The idea for the muster came from Justin Monroe, a firefighter at the Miller Ferry station. He didn’t live to see his idea come to fruition. He died in 2008 in the line of duty.
The muster continues in his honor.
There were about 130 participants in this year’s muster, some for the first time and many returning.
About 11 teams had members ranging in age from14-18. The Miller Ferry Department staffed the event along with other area departments. The women’s auxiliary provided the food, said Fire Chief Bobby Fox.
Ryan Spohn competed for his second year with Miller Ferry. This year’s team had more than a dozen participants.
The team trained about two months for the day’s events, he said.
Once the muster is over, Miller Ferry junior firefighters will begin the training process again, said Cody Rainey.
Cody’s father, Kevin Rainey is a lieutenant with the department.
“We have more rookies than veterans this year. There’s no pressure. We are just here to have fun,” said Justin Holmes, also with Miller Ferry.
Mike Gobble coordinated many of the events with his fellow Miller Ferry firefighters.
It takes at least a year to plan this event he said.
“It’s about camaraderie, education and fun,” said Miller Ferry firefighter Josh Fox.
“We try to participate, not to win. It’s about socializing. It’s good to see a lot of the departments traveling here,” said Bill Fraley, Miller Ferry deputy chief.
It was the first time for the junior firefighters of Stony Hill Fire Department in Wake County.
Event Capt. Samantha Cinelli said the group traveled about two hours early Saturday morning and competed with six junior firefighters.
The types of activities the team did during the muster, they’ve been conducting in their department’s regular training, said one of the team’s advisers, Jeb Bailey.
“We train all the time,” he said.
There are also events the group trains for specifically.
“It’s not about winning, it’s about teamwork,” Cinelli said.
It’s the second year Rockwell Rural has participated.
“They are doing a good job. We have some newbies,” said David Ruff, during the competition.
Chris Pegram, coordinator/adviser for Warren County, close to the Virginia line, said his team of 15 and supporters likely traveled the farthest, more than 180 miles or about three hours.
The team arrived Friday night and plans to leave early today. It’s the second year it has participated, Pegram said, and one of about four competitions his junior firefighters will compete in during the next several months. They just participated in a muster a week ago.
“We train three to four months before,” he said.
There’s no shame in not winning with this bunch.
“We want them to get beat so they’ll return home and train harder,” Pegram said.
The team had done pretty well in the competition at that point, he said.
Pegram said the Miller Ferry muster is one of their favorites to compete in. The Miller Ferry department is always so hospitable, he said.
The competition is a friendly one.
“It’s not cutthroat. It’s very laid back,” he said.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.