On April 12, Leroy and Betty Hayes were honored for their years of service to the Gravois Fire Protection District as Leroy officially retired from the board of directors.
On April 12, Leroy and Betty Hayes were honored for their years of service to the Gravois Fire Protection District as Leroy officially retired from the board of directors. He was one of the original board members of the district which formed out of a subscription department in 1992 and served as board president from 1992-2012. Johnie Ray now serves as board president, and Lee Wilson has taken the open seat on the board unopposed.
Chuck Pryor emceed the ceremony honoring Leroy and Betty who were honored with a proclamation from the Missouri State House of Representatives and Senate presented by State Rep. David Wood. Chief Ed Hancock also presented a proclamation on behalf of the district and firefighters honored them with a salute. The outdoor ceremony at the G-5 Station on Highway O in Laurie was followed by a luncheon provided by the department.
Leroy has volunteered his time in the communities where he has lived for more than 50 years, serving 30 years with the Oak Grove, Mo. Volunteer Fire Department and 22 years with the Gravois Fire Department. He also served as a city alderman and police commissioner in Oak Grove, Mo. He volunteered in Oak Grove while also owning and operating a successful small business there. Leroy was the first volunteer fire chief to be appointed president of the Missouri Association of Fire Chiefs. Betty served as a volunteer in the "Bucket Brigades" of both Gravois and Oak Grove departments and was president of the Gravois Buckettes for many years. She traveled around the state with Leroy on business for the Missouri Association of Fire Chiefs.
What they said
Hancock termed their service and dedication to their communities as "remarkable" and "exceptional," saluting him as a brother, boss, co-worker and dear friend.
A fellow original board member, Ray commented, "We've had some hurdles to go over. They were 10-foot hurdles and they wanted us to jump over them flat footed, but we made it."
After the ceremony, Hayes said, "It all comes back to the firefighters. I respect them with all my heart."