SIDNEY — A facility that was called “a great opportunity” that will “pay dividends into the future” was dedicated Wednesday afternoon.
The Nancy Adams Training Center, located at the Sidney Department of Fire & Emergency Services Station 1 downtown, was dedicated in a program attended by Dick Adams, whose $100,000 gift made the facility possible. Adams provided the funds in honor of his daughter Nancy, who was an emergency medical technician in Florida. She died in 1994; Wednesday would have been her birthday.
“This is a great opportunity not only for Shelby County and the city of Sidney, but for our citizens,” Sidney Fire Chief Brad Jones said as he opened the program. “It’s a great opportunity for us to encourage and foster training for both our volunteers within the county and the professionals here in Sidney.”
The facility will be used to train all local first responders, including police.
Sidney Police Chief Will Balling said the new center prompted him to recall the Police Department’s vision statement: “To exceed the expectations of our community; to adapt to ever-changing challenges; and to provide the highest level of services to the citizens we serve.”
Balling said training is vital for first responders because of the quick decisions they must make. “This is where this kind of training; this kind of development of our officers, comes into play,” he said.
Fort Loramie Fire Chief Brad Schulze, who also is a member of the Shelby County Firefighters Association training coordinators, spoke about pooling the resources of the county fire departments with Sidney. He said the training center “is another tool in the toolbox.”
Sidney Deputy Chief Cameron Haller recalled that during the early days of his 20 years with the department, training was held in the bunk room after beds were folded up and the chairs and tables were removed. “Our goal is to make this room the epicenter to outreach to everyone,” he said.
Haller said one of the features of the new training center will be the capability to record training sessions and share them with other departments via the Internet.
“I want to thank the Adams family, and I want to thank them for their trust that the Sidney Fire Department will be good stewards in Nancy’s name,” Haller said.
“This training center brings together everyone in the community, not just first responders. … Every student who passes through here is going to take the lessons learned back to their community,” said Kristi Branson, EMS coordinator with Wilson Health and chief of the Houston Rescue Squad.
Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst recalled growing up on a farm near that of Dick and Barbara Adams in Perry Township and the two families visiting each other. He told how the development of the training center began when Dick and Barbara’s son, Richard, contacted him about his father’s desire to make a major financial gift to the city to benefit the fire department. The gift was announced to the public earlier this summer.
“The training center — once only the tiny seed of an idea — continues to grow in concept,” Barhorst said. “I believe this center has the potential to become an educational mecca for safety service personnel from across the area.”
In beginning his remarks, Richard Adams recognized members of his sister Nancy’s high school graduating class attending the ceremony and asked them to stand.
Adams got a laugh from the audience when he said although he, Barhorst and Jones had worked on the project, “the person we really need to thank for writing the check is my father.”
Adams, who has been involved in education during his professional career, said education before employment is important, but “education during employment is also very important. … I don’t know of an area where that’s more important than our first responders.”
Adams referred to recent news accounts from other areas of the nation that indicate first responders are not shown the “respect and support” they deserve. That’s not the way it is in Shelby County, he said.
Adams predicted the center would grow. He got another laugh when he looked at Sidney City Manager Mark Cundiff in the audience and said, “Someday, Mr. Manager, we may need a bigger facility.”
Community Foundation Executive Director Marian Spicer told of the foundation’s role as steward of Dick Adams’ money. “We are extremely proud of you for enabling this to happen for our community,” she told Adams.
As Dick Adams watched the unveiling of a plaque on the wall of the training room dedicated to his daughter, he said, “There it is!”
“He’s quick and to the point,” Jones said, which brought a laugh from the audience.
In his closing remarks, Jones said, “This today, is the beginning that will pay dividends into the future for our community.”
Also taking part in the event were the Rev. Patrick Sloneker, former chaplain for the Sidney Fire Department, who offered the invocation, and the Rev. Diana Circelli, pastor of Sidney’s First Presbyterian Church, who offered the benediction.