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Heritage Days Grand Marshals

Huntington Fire Department

Huntington Mayor Jackie Wilson reads a tribute to the Grand Marshals.

"Many of the residents of Huntington can still remember the good old days. Back when horse-drawn hay wagons were a common sight on Main Street, people never thought of locking their doors at night and the sound of the siren on top of Walt's signaled a call to for the entire town.

"Back then, we had one aged 1945 American LaFrance fire truck. Not many people in town knew how to operate it, so it generally was driven to the fire and parked while the citizens who had responded to the alarm valiantly carried personal belongings into the street to save them.

"In 1973, things changed. It was then that an organized volunteer fire department was officially begun. Vern Leamaster who was at that time on the city council, needed to find someone who was willing to take on the task of forming and organizing Huntington's first official fire department.

"He asked Garth Childs. The first thing that Garth did was to ask Tom Shannon and Jerry Oviatt to be his assistant chiefs. A job which they did well for a very long time.

"The next big obstacle was to find people willing to be volunteer firemen. Not any easy task, who would willingly volunteer to go into a burning building? Huntington was lucky. There were many men who were willing to donate their time to training and to respond at all hours of the day or night to protect their community.

"We want to thank all those men, past and present who have so generously and bravely protected us. With the organization of a fire district in the county, the purchase of many new trucks and equipment, and the continued training of individuals, our insurance rates have decreased and we are reassured that our lives and property are safeguarded.

"Our fire department today is manned by 22 dedicated men; Jim Gordon, Clark Atwood, David Bird, Mike VanWagoner, Trevor Olsen, Jason Jensen, Bernell Halliday, Antonio Iturrio, Warren Oviatt, Vaughn Guymon, Brent Pierce, Justin Orton, Josh Jorgensen, Allen Jorgensen, Lon Arnold, Merland Jensen, Jason Pierce, Pete Alger, Ben Roundy, Leonard Wilson, Zeb Shannon and Chief Garth Childs. Garth has spent a lifetime in service to this community. He has served as the Chief of Huntington's fire department for 32 years. He also serves on the board of Emery County Fire Chief's Association as president, he is a special fire marshal for the State of Utah and is on the Emery County Sheriff's Posse where he serves as sergeant. All of this is on a volunteer basis.

"His real job is for the Emery County School District. He is the father of four; two girls, Kimberly Anne Monson and Kristine Kate Bird, and two sons, Kevin Childs and Kalvin Childs; and he is the grandfather of six wonderful grandchildren, Kameron and Kiara Monson, Derek, Grace and Desiree Childs, and Kadrianne Bird. He is also the loving husband of his wife of 34 years, Alyce.

"In January, Garth was nominated by Huntington City Councilman Norman Richardson to be the Utah Power/Utah Jazz Community Most Valuable Person in the intermountain west. He was recognized for his contributions to this community during halftime on Jan. 30 at the Utah Jazz game in the Delta Center where he was given his award," said Mayor Jackie Wilson.

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