Parade procession replaces convention in Schuylkill County

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POTTSVILLE, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Even though the pandemic has cancelled countless events, many organizations are finding alternate ways to keep the show going. A firefighter’s convention is doing just that with a twist.

The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted a lot this year but it hasn’t stopped first responders from answering the call.

“We’ve been out every day during the extreme high numbers of COVID and it’s nice to give back, thank the volunteers for doing what they’re doing,” Pottsville Fire Department Chief Jim Misstichin said.

So when the 66th annual Schuylkill County Volunteer Fire’s Association Convention was also forced to cancel, organizers knew they had to come up with another plan. The association decided it will have a parade on Sunday starting at Martz Hall in Pottsville.

“We are grateful for all those who serve now and we can remember those who served in years gone by. Especially those who have fallen in the lines of duty,” Reverend Fred Crawford, chaplain with the Schuylkill County Firefighter Association, said.

Since the first year, the convention has held a memorial service honoring line of duty deaths. This year all emergency responders are being honored and invited to participate. If they can’t be there, they can listen to the ceremony on the radio.

“If firefighters don’t participate, they can listen at their station or if they have a portable radio, they can listen at home,” Misstichin said.

Reverend Crawford and others will hold the memorial service over a Schuylkill County Ops channel.

“To be a part of that is very full-filling and it’s an honor for me and my colleagues who, who will assist in conducting the service,” Reverend Crawford said.

The procession will also be streamed on Facebook so all can help thank and honor all emergency responders.

Before cancelling it was Ringtown Valley Fire & Rescue’s turn to host this year’s Schuylkill County Volunteer Fire’s Association Convention. The company will still hand out cases of glasses as a fundraising effort.

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