Whipple man honored by Ohio State Grange as Fireman of the Year

Joe Fouss of Whipple recently received the Ohio State Grange Non-Member Fireman of the Year Award.

A fire department and emergency squad was badly needed in the community as the nearest protection was many miles away. Because of this, the Salem Township Volunteer Fire Department and Emergency Squad was formed in 1974. Joe Fouss was a charter member (the only charter member still active) and has now served for 44 years. He has served as assistant chief, captain, lieutenant, and is presently the safety officer for the department. In 2013, 17 paid and volunteer departments in Washington County honored Joe as “fireman of the year.”

Joe was in the first EMS class in 1974 and has run on squad ever since. This year, 2018, he was honored by the Washington County Emergency Medical Service for the public service award.

He is presently 81 years of age and has given blood four times a year since he was 25, but at 67 years of age was told that he could no longer be a donor. Joe has served as the coordinator between the Marietta Memorial Hospital blood bank and the fire department. He is a past boys 4-H advisor and served as a Salem Township trustee for 20 years.

Joe works monthly with the Tri-County Food Pantry unloading trucks, filling boxes for distribution and helping dispense food.

He has been a member of the Masonic Lodge for 55 years working at the roadside rest outside of Marietta and other fundraising events to raise money for Special Olympics as well as helping to pack and distribute food baskets to shut-ins.

An example of the type of person that Joe is: In 1998, part of Washington County was devastated by flood and again in 2004; both times Joe, who is an excellent carpenter, spent many, many hours giving of himself and his skills helping neighbors put their homes back in living order.

Joe’s hobbies are old gas engines and making brooms.

He lost his wife, Opal, after 59 years of marriage and is the father of two sons and one daughter, grandpa to six grandchildren and two great granddaughters and has one great grandson on the way.