Mohler honored for service with the Newberry Fire Department.
Newberry Fire Department recently honored Burt Mohler for his retirement after 26 years of service to the city’s fire department.
Mohler retired on June 28 as a Captain within the department. The ceremony was held on Monday, July 8 at the Newberry Firehouse Conference Center for Mohler’s friends, family and colleagues.
Mohler was presented several gifts on behalf of the fire department as well as the City of Newberry during the ceremony.
On behalf of the fire department, Fire Chief Keith Minick presented Mohler with a commemorative bronze extinguisher, which is customary for retiring captains.
The Newberry Honor Guard presented Mohler with the fire department flag that flew during his final shift at Station 21. The Honor Guard is made up of members who volunteer their time to go to retirements, funerals, or other circumstances to represent the department in proper fashion, Minick said.
Following the presentation of gifts, the Newberry County Communications Center made a “last call” broadcast in Mohler’s honor.
Several shift members made presentations including Lt. Stuart Smith who presented Mohler with their “B” shift’s flag, that he had designed for them.
“Thank you for everything you’ve done for us,” Smith said. “You’ve supported us and been there for us.”
Minick explained that each shift designs a flag that they’re proud of to display on the fire engine. Mohler’s shift flag was retired with him.
“It’s just a little piece pride and ownership within the department,” Minick said.
Surrounded by a family with those in the service, Mohler said it had to be meant to be that he was too having been involved in the police explorers and attending the cadet program at the academy, EMS and finally, the fire department.
“In 1993, I finally got the chance to become a career firefighter,” he said. “Still not forgetting about my police experience, I later became a reserve officer for the city.”
Mohler said he had been blessed to receive all the knowledge from all of the first responder positions he’d held.
“It’s allowed me to be well-rounded in all kinds of situations and give the community the best I could,” he said.
Throughout his years as a first responder, Mohler said he had seen many things, from bringing life into the world during his time with EMS to the unfortunate loss of life. Mohler said he’d seen the city fire service grow during this time from having one station to now, having two.
“I was blessed to be involved in the saving of a man’s life from fire which is every firefighter’s golden mission,” he said.
To those who started the journey with him many years ago, Mohler said he considers them family and thanks them for the many memories he will never forget. For the newcomers to the fire service, he encourages them to learn the ABC’s of saving a person’s life.
“What it really should mean, is how the public looks at us,” Mohler said. “Appearance, behavior and compassion.”
Mohler said they each owed it to the public for their shoes to be tied, their shirts be tucked and when walking in the door to be sure the public knew that they want to be there.
“Always remember the traditions of the fire service and never forget the ones before you,” he said. “Respect the ones above you, for they have been where you are today. Move up from many hours of training and experience and learn from it.”
Mohler described the fire service as an extended family with one goal and one purpose, all in it together.
A special thank you, Mohler said went out to his family that had supported him completely, he said even when his duties as a fireman interfered with holidays, birthdays, vacations, and more.
“I love you endlessly,” he told them.
Following his speech, Mohler’s children Laura, Sarah and Noah recited the poem, “Why God Created a Fireman.”
Mohler’s sister, Kathy Wicker said that God created special people to be firefighters and first responders and that her brother was truly one of those special individuals created to fulfil that role.
“I’ve watched with pride as he became the man that he is today, she said of Mohler. “And I thank him for his service.”
Mohler’s wife Lynn spoke of the past in the fire service when telegraphs were used to communicate with special codes via fire alarm boxes.
“When a fireman was killed or fell in the line of duty, the fire alarm would tap out a special signal,” she said. “This would be tapped out in five measured dashes, pause and then five more measured dashes. This came to be known as the tolling of the bells; a symbol of honor and respect that transformed into the ringing of an actual bell.”
In honor of Mohler, Lynn presented a bell to the Newberry Fire Department so that they could continue the tradition of honoring the selfless men and women that completed their tasks on Earth and had been called home.
Volunteer firefighter Ben Bowers said Mohler cared deeply about the citizens of Newberry that he served.
“You remember your losses and remember your saves, but sometimes you never know the lives you have saved,” Bowers said to Mohler.
Bowers said that Mohler was one of the reasons he became interested in performing fire inspections and hopes that what he learned from him will help him touch and save lives, even if he never knows how many.
Fire Chief Keith Minick spoke of Mohler and said while they may not have always seen eye to eye, he thinks that’s what made them a stronger team.
“I think that’s what made us stronger in real time, because we were able to come to a conclusion of what was best for the city of Newberry’s citizens,” Minick said. “I appreciate what you’ve done for me, the department and the city of Newberry as a whole.”
Whether it was lives in the community with the department’s Goodfellow Baskets, the golf tournament fundraiser, or anything else he put his efforts into, Minick said Mohler made a difference and that he was appreciated.
Minick thanked Mohler’s family for allowing him to be a part of the department family.
“We congratulate you on your retirement,” he said.
Captain Burt Mohler pictured with Fire Chief Keith Minick
Burt Mohler pictured with his wife, Lynn and daughters Sarah (left), Laura (right) and son Noah.
Sitting from L-R: Lt. Stuart Smith, Retired Capt. Blake Davis, Capt. Tim Swygert, Retired Capt. Burt Mohler, Admin. Asst. Lucille Kinard, Capt. Andrew Morris, Chief Keith Minick
Second row L-R: Vol. FF Chris Johnson – Honor Guard, Firefighter Chris Fulmer, Eng. Robert Dowd, Lt. Chris Connelly, Lt. Brian Beck, Eng. Michael Parker – Honor Guard, Firefighter Kody Jacobs, Firefighter Jake Longshore, Vol. FF Chansel Minick, Eng. Daniel Werts
Back row L-R: Firefighter R J Doran, Chaplin James Henricks, Retired Eng. Benji Morris, Vol. FF Ben Bowers, Retired Lt. Jimmy Bickley, Firefighter Tyler Truesdale, Vol. FF Corey Shealy, Eng. Ben Dukes, Firefighter Carlisle Barwick, Vol. FF J C Counts
Top 10 Things Every Newberrian Should Do This Summer
Gather your family and friends for a movie night under the stars. Free Moonlight Movie Nights take place once a month, May through August, in Memorial Park. All movies are set to start at sunset (approximately 8:30pm). Make an evening of it by bringing your lawn chair and blanket out early for a fun picnic in the park. Enjoy free games provided by the City of Newberry RecMobile starting an hour before each movie. Movies will be shown as follows: Friday, May 24 showing Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, Friday, June 14 showing the critically acclaimed Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Friday, July 19 showing The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, and Friday, August 16 showing SHAZAM!
Kick-off summer on June 1 from 9am to 12pm at Open Streets; a day to “reclaim the road” by temporarily closing roads commonly used for cars and opening the streets for bikers and pedestrians. Bike or walk to downtown to join the free community engagement and lifestyle fair! The event will feature the opening day of the Grow Newberry Farmers Market, Bike Safety Rodeo by the Newberry Police Department, activities for all ages from the Newberry Fire Department, Newberry YMCA, Newberry County Memorial Hospital, and various local service organizations. Come see The COMET commuter bus, RecMobile, fire trucks, and more! Families will want to be sure to stop by the “summer camp walk” to sign up for the many children’s summer camps in Newberry. Pay a visit to “recreation row” for information about the Palmetto Trail, Sumter National Forest, and free fitness classes from a variety of local programs. At 10am the “Mile Walk with the Mayor and Miss Newberry & Miss Teen Newberry,” will take you on a 15-minute loop of Main Street in the downtown district. Don’t miss the chance to “get out and get moving for your community.”
The largest free farm tour in the United States, Newberry County will once again host the South Carolina Ag + Art Tour the weekend of June 1-2. The self-guided tour features local farms and artisans at every stop, with the purpose of “cultivating handmade and homegrown.” This year 8 farms will be featured during the tour: Bowers Farm, a family owned and operated pastured livestock and poultry farm, Carolina Pride Pastures, an alpaca farm specializing in alpaca fleece and fiber art, Enoree River Winery LLC, Newberry’s only vineyard, The Hollies Venue at SunSet Nursery, a container nursery featuring a rustic outdoor event venue, Lever Farms, a family owned and operated produce farm, Persimmon Hill Farm LLC, a sustainably raised meat farm, Rodger’s Heirlooms, a certified organic seed farm and garden, and West Ridge Farms-- Premium Beef, a grass-fed cattle farm. For details visit www.agandarttour.com/newberry or contact the Newberry County Chamber of Commerce at 803-276-4274.
Meeting once a week on Saturday mornings from 9am to 11:30am in downtown’s Memorial Park, the Grow Newberry Farmers Market offers all you need to fill your family’s pantry. Fresh fruit, vegetables, hearty breads, baked goods & sweets, pasture raised meats, fresh eggs, and even milk and dairy products are available weekly! Visitors can also find fresh cut flowers, locally made soaps, lotions, crafts and great gifts. Don’t miss your chance to eat colorfully and live well this summer by stocking up with the market. Contact the Chamber of Commerce for more information, 803-276-4274.
While summer camp opportunities abound in Newberry County, there are some days the kids are looking to you for entertainment. Thankfully, the City of Newberry Parks, Recreation, and Tourism department has several free organized activities for children this summer! RecMobile traveling summer recreation returns to a park near you June 10-July 19. On weekday mornings expect to find the brightly colored van with speakers blasting music and bringing old fashioned recreation fun to a different local park each day. On Fridays the Newberry Arts Center - NAC will “take over” the van to host Art in the Park! The program is free for ages 6 and up with lunch provided to participants. In addition to their annual free Tackle Football Camp, PRT will also host Hot Shot Basketball single day skills shootouts and Home Run Derbies for children. For details or to register for these programs call 803-321-1015 or visit www.newberryprt.com.
On select Fridays this summer the Newberry Opera House will be hosting a party in Memorial Park! Bring your lawn chair and blanket to join them starting at 6pm for free summer concerts in the park. Each week the Newberry Downtown Development Association will be selling beer and wine to guests over 21 who present their ID. The Party in the Park series runs June 14 through August 2. Visit www.newberryoperahouse.comor call 803-276-6264 for details.
Independence Day in Newberry is not to be missed as classic small-town displays of American patriotism abound; so much so that last year the Harper Street Bike Parade made national news! The bike parade has grown from its small beginnings of just a few neighborhood children, to now attracting visitors from all over. Parade participants show off patriotic outfits, decorated bikes, and even the occasional golf cart. Starting at the corner of Harper and Hunt Streets, the parade travels toward Walnut Street where participants are greeted with a fire engine hosing provided by the local Fire Department. The day ends with fireworks at Newberry High School from the county Sheriff’s Department. The “rockets’ red glare” is scheduled for “dark-thirty” after the community gathers to sing the National Anthem in the school’s football stadium.
The South Carolina Palmetto Trail is expanding to include a new urban trail route that will take hikers through the City of Newberry and downtown. The passage is set to open this summer, entering the city limits at Jollystreet Road and US 76, following sidewalks to Main Street where hikers will tour the downtown district and historic College Street district before continuing onward into the county. Excitingly this will be the 4th leg of the Palmetto Trail in the county and will serve to connect and complete the trail system in Newberry. More information about the Palmetto Trail can be found at their website www.palmettoconservation.org.
Build a stronger community and safer neighborhoods while having fun at National Night Out on Tuesday, August 6. Bring your family to Mollohon Park from 6pm to 8pm for fun, games, food, music, and a chance to win prizes, brought to you by your local City of Newberry Police Department. The event is a great opportunity to meet your neighbors, get to know your local first responders, and have a quality, free, fun night out with the family. Events in the past have featured a dunking booth, emergency vehicle tours, photo booths, and much more!
The City of Newberry is soon to be home to a new recreation feature for all ages to enjoy! The Recreation Complex has been under construction since the summer of 2018 after voters passed the county penny sales tax initiative to bring needed programs and projects to residents including quality of life programming to the county’s municipalities. In its first phase the complex is set to feature a large playground that is fully accessible, 3 baseball/softball fields, 2 grass multipurpose fields, a nature trail circling an on-site pond, as well as a large splash pad! Excitingly, some of the park’s phase one features, including the playground and splash pad, are set to open in the late summer of this year. A grand opening will be announced in the future as the City of Newberry prepares to welcome this public park to all of Newberry’s citizens.
Tourism & Events Manager
City of Newberry Parks, Recreation, and Tourism
Newberry Named one of 50 Most Charming Small Towns
Newberry was most recently named one of 50 of the most charming small towns in America. In the article published by the Travel Channel, Newberry was the only town in South Carolina to make the list among other cities to include Nantucket, MA, Kennebunkport, ME and Carmel, CA.
“Newberry, South Carolina, is a college town with lots of extras: lovely architecture, a historic Opera House, a winery where rocking chairs beckon from a big porch and world-class dining and drinking experiences. Nicknamed the ‘City of Friendly Folks,’ it’s been called one of the 100 best small towns in America,” the article stated.
City Manager Matt DeWitt said it was nice to see that others were noticing what many citizens in Newberry had known all along.
“Newberry is a great place to visit, but an even better place to call home,” he said.
Mayor Foster Senn said more significant things were on the horizon for 2019 to add to Newberry’s charm, including the completion of the Old Newberry Hotel, the Newberry Museum, and The Standard on Main – new apartment living spaces downtown.
“We’re thrilled to be named one of the 50 most charming towns in America,” Senn said. “I see Newberry only getting better and more interesting in the future with the opening of these places as well as the new businesses that opened in recent months and other projects sure to develop because of the momentum that Newberry has.”
For more information on what’s going on in Newberry, check out www.cityofnewberry.com.