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CFD honors professional, volunteer firefighters

Posted: January 31, 2013 5:07 p.m.
Updated: February 1, 2013 5:00 a.m.

The Camden Fire Department (CFD) recently named its professional and volunteer recipients of its Carl S. Hammond Firefighter of the Year awards. Lt. Tyheine Bennett, who joined the CFD in 2001 is the 2012 Professional Firefighter of the Year. Mark Parker, who originally joined the department in 1988, is the 2012 Volunteer Firefighter of the Year.

“Tyheine is a leader in the department and he is dedicated and committed to his duties,” CFD Chief John Bowers said of Bennett, who has earned the award on three previous occasions. “He also heads up our annual awards banquet as well as our children’s Christmas party. He also serves on the MDA Committee and Firefest Committee.”

Parker is a third generation firefighter.

“He has served a total of 11 years over two service periods. He served on the Budget Committee, Seagraves Committee and Firefest Committee. He is always available to serve his community,” Bowers said.

The Carl S. Hammond award is named for the CFD’s first full-time fire chief.

Hammond joined the department as a volunteer firefighter in August 1941 and was appointed chief in October 1948. He served in that capacity for 30 years until his retirement. His department included three paid firemen and 16 volunteers.

According to Bowers, Hammond initiated a program of repairing toys for needy families for the Christmas Stocking Fund in 1949. From 1950 to 1976, he was director of Safety Services of the American Red Cross. In 1953, he was elected vice-president of the Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs (SAFC), and organized and established the Camden-Kershaw County Rescue Squad -- the first in the state of South Carolina.

In 1954, Hammond was named Outstanding Fire Chief of South Carolina by the SAFC. Three years later, in 1957, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Camden Junior Chamber of Commerce, and was elected president of the S.C. Firemen’s Association. In 1964, he was elected president of the S.C. State Fire Chief’s Association (SCFA), appointed chairman of the SCFA’s legislative committee, and helped organize the Kershaw County Fire Service.

In 1970, Hammond was the district winner of the Service to Mankind Award by Sertoma International. He was honored for outstanding achievement in firefighting by the Carolina Association of Mutual Insurance Agents. Hammond also served on the L.P. Gas Board as a governor’s appointee, and worked on the High Rise Building Code of South Carolina.

Hammond was inducted into the S.C. Firemen’s Hall of Fame in 1977, considered to be the highest honor a fireman can receive in the state of South Carolina.

His family donated the Carl S. Hammond Award in his honor.

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