A portrait of service

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:16

    Byram-When he first signed on as a volunteer firefighter in 1954, Harold Garrison had no way of knowing just how much the experience would affect his life. The then 21-year-old young man did not realize that he was embarking on a journey that would last over half a century. For the past 50 years, Garrison has been an active volunteer firefighter. Garrison began fire fighting in Flanders, however, for the past 38 years, Garrison has served the Township of Byram. "It's very rare that someone meets 50 years of service and is still fighting fires," said President of the Byram Fire Department Larry Putz about the milestone. "It really shows his dedication." According to Putz, because of his wealth of experience, Garrison is one of the most knowledgeable fire fighters on the department. On the night of Aug. 19, Garrison reported to the Byram Diner to practice a fire drill, something that he had done hundreds of times over the years on Thursday nights. However, when he arrived, he did not find his colleagues ready to train but ready to party in his honor. Next door on the lawn of the Byram Motel, fellow firefighters awaited his arrival where they held a large picnic complete with live music. Friends and family of Garrison were also in attendance to help pay tribute to Garrison's service. "They surprised the hell out of me," said Garrison. Byram Police Chief Meg Seesselberg, who along with Putz, helped organize the party, praised Garrison, not only for his service to the community but also for his friendship. "God bless him for his 50 years of active duty," said Seesselberg. Former Chief and firefighter Joe Sedivy commented about his years of service alongside Garrison. "He's the type of firefighter that you would do anything with," said Sedivy. "You wouldn't think twice about going anywhere with him." At the celebration, Garrison said that he has no thoughts of retiring any time soon. He credited his fire fighting service with keeping him feeling young. "It's been a great 38 years," said Garrison about his years of service in Byram. "I'm looking forward to the next 50."