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Friendship Fire Association To Honor 2003 Heros

Held as part of the George Washington birthday celebration.

Alexandria's President's Day celebration will kick off with a tribute by "George Washington's Fire Company" to members of the City's fire and police departments "who participated in two significant incidents during 2003."

Starting at 9 a.m., Feb. 16, the Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association will hold its annual meeting at the Holiday Inn and Suites, 625 First Street. In addition to welcoming several new members, the first responders will receive a plaque highlighting their heroic efforts, according to William W. Kehoe, secretary-treasurer.

During the breakfast event, the Ben Lynt Distinguished Service Award will be presented to a life-long Alexandria resident, according to Kehoe. Both the recognition of the first responders and the recipient of the award epitomize the exemplary service for which Friendship members are known, Kehoe explained.

"This is a new venture for Friendship to honor the crews and individuals in these dramatic cases, but it is not unprecedented as we honored our public safety departments after 9/11," he said. "Both incidents involved tremendous risk to the lives of the rescuers and a favorable outcome to the victims."

Kehoe noted, "Our perennial master of ceremonies, Bill Mayhugh, will return to make this event very enjoyable. Bill suffered a heart attack last November, but has fully recovered."

THOSE PLANNING to attend must return their reservation forms no later than Feb. 12 with a check to "Friendship" in the amount of $35 or reserve by phone by calling 703-751-6416, and pay at the door. Breakfast and program will end in plenty of time for the commencement of the annual parade [in Old Town], Kehoe assured.

Friendship Association, dating back to 1774, is one of the 12 most historic fire service organizations in the nation. With its museum at Friendship Firehouse, 107 S. Alfred Street, the association, in conjunction with the Office of Historic Alexandria, preserves 18th and 19th century firefighting artifacts.

Scholarships are awarded by the association to deserving students who pursue post secondary education in fire protection engineering or an emergency services career field. A complimentary reception, held at the fire station following the annual meeting, offers an opportunity for history buffs to view the various treasurers of the museum.