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Kingston presents award to fire department
MR Jack Kingston
Job well done! Congressman Jack Kingston presents Ludowici-Long County Fire Chief Darrell Ballance a U.S. flag and certificate of appreciation. - photo by Photo by Mike Riddle
Ludowici/Long County Fire Department received on Wednesday a certificate of appreciation and a United States flag that was flown over the White House.
The presentation was made because of the fire department’s assistance in fighting the wildland forest fires in Ware County in April.  
Congressman Jack Kingston presented the awards to L/LFD Fire Chief Darrell Ballance at the Long County Courthouse with a crowd of around 30 on hand.
“Forty-four states sent help to the Ware County area to help with the forest fires back in April; and when they all got there they saw the 3,300 volunteers from all over the state of Georgia on the front lines doing the heavy work,” Kingston said.
“Whether it was Long County or Brantly or whichever county from the state; they all made a big difference in putting out the fires,” the congressman said.
According to Kingston, the fires, affecting southeast Georgia to Florida, consumed an estimated 600,000 acres, and did about $45 million in damage. It cost another $45 million to fight.
“This fire was the largest in Georgia history, and I believe it was the third largest in U.S. history,” Kingston said.
The congressman expressed appreciation for the job firefighters do, informing the crowd of how Benjamin Franklin founded the first fire department and how the only people who were protected were those who paid for the protection.
“Today, no matter who you are or where you live, if you have a fire or an emergency, all you have to do is call 911 and someone will be there to take care of you; and I appreciate what you do,” Kingston said.
Commenting about the firefighters’ teamwork, Kingston said, “Firefighters have a special bond. They may have differences at the station, but when they get to a fire, they put all that behind them and work together to put out the fire. It would be nice if we could get congress to work a little more like that.”
Ballance thanked the congressman for the awards and also praised the firefighters of his department.
“We had been fighting the fire here in the county which burned around 2,000 acres, and had went from Thursday to Thursday, working 24 hours a day. Once it was under control, we had guys load up and go down to Ware County to help them,” Balance said.
According to Ballance, his department sent six men to Ware County along with a 5,000-gallon tanker truck.
“We primarily shuttled water back and fourth, and staged near structures to protect them should the fire begin to spread,” Balance said. “The guys did a great job.”
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