Both men are members of the Clayton Fire Company

Clayton Fire Company members representing youth and experience were recently recognized by the Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association.

Alex Carrow was honored as the first recipient of the DVFA Youth Leadership Award, and John W. Davis Sr., a 55-year member of the Clayton Fire Company, was selected as the Delaware Fire Policeman of the Year at the DVFA conference in Dover Sept. 12.

“They finally surprised me,” said Davis. “I figured something was up because my family was there.”

Davis said the reason he volunteers with the fire company is because he likes helping people.

“Being a fire policeman, you get the chance to direct people around an accident and keep them from getting tied up – help them avoid problems,” he said.

He also helps keep traffic away from an emergency scene to protect the first responders.

“I joined the fire company to serve the community and do whatever I can to help people,” Davis said.

His son, Wes Davis, the Clayton fire chief, said keeping the award secret was a real challenge.

“I found out my dad was getting the award when a judge from the association called me in May, and I had to keep it under wraps until September,” said Wes Davis. “I think he was totally surprised by it. He’s not one of the people who’s used to getting awards. It’s just second nature for him to step up and do things for people, never thinking he’d get an award for it.”

Alex Carrow, Clayton Fire Company deputy chief, was also surprised to receive the first Youth Leadership Award from the Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association.

“I was completely blown away and shocked by it,” said Carrow. “I don’t volunteer for the awards. It’s just the way I was raised.”

At the fire company, Carrow is following in the footsteps of his father, Skip Carrow, and grandfather, the late William “Ace” Carrow for whom the fire hall is named.

“I’ve been coming to the firehouse as long as I can remember,” said Alex Carrow.

He’s been an official member for 16 years.

He said he likes helping people and he enjoys the friendships and camaraderie.

“When someone is having absolutely their worst day, we’re there helping them,” he said.

Wes Davis said Carrow “should be an inspiration to younger members that hard work will pay off and you will be recognized for it. Alex works hard, as a deputy chief and line officer, as a dispatcher for Robbins Hose Company in Dover and he’s also taking college courses online.”

“It’s great that there’s an opportunity out there now for the younger members to strive for,” Wes Davis said. “It’s another encouragement the state association has started, hoping younger members will step up.”

Carrow said he appreciates that the DVFA has started giving an award to recognize younger volunteers.

“At the conference, our second vice president and myself were the youngest ones there and we’re both over 30. If we don’t get younger people to step up and join the fire companies, we’re going to fall by the wayside,” said Carrow.

Wes Davis said every fire company is in the same predicament with falling membership. A lot of new residents don’t know the company is staffed by volunteers.

Carrow said, “We’ve been making a big push to recruit. We go door-to-door, handing out flyers. It’s tough, though. Our members have to balance their work schedule and family schedule. That’s why we try to have banquets, picnics and block parties to give back to members with events they can bring their families to.”

New members welcome

At the Clayton Fire Company, the minimum age for junior members is 15 and the minimum age for regular members is 17.

For those who don’t want to fight fires, there are still plenty of ways to help the fire company as an associate member – everything from setting up for banquets to planning fundraisers to maintenance around the firehouse.