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Recognized for years of service

| Monday, May 14, 2007

Mt. Pleasant volunteer firemen honored two men who have served the department for a combined 115 years.

Jack Hostoffer has been a familiar face around the department for a long time, said fire Chief Jerry Lucia, during a banquet honoring the borough's fire department.

"He's been part of the organization for many years and has achieved the milestone of 50 years. Jack is very knowledgeable. He has many skills, and one of his best skills is the extrication of a person from a vehicle. He is known for that. Jack has also been the rescue squad captain for 29 of the past 30 years," Lucia said.

Hostoffer has served as vice president, captain, lieutenant and also as treasurer of the relief fund.

Nick Etze was recognized for 65 years of service to the department.

"At 92, Nick is still very much a part of the department. He attends all the meetings, and he has very strong input to the department," Lucia said.

Many members of the Etze family have been active in the fire department, including Nick Etze's sister, Nellie Arrotti, who was recognized for 66 years with the ladies auxiliary.

Throughout his active years with the department, Etze served as president, vice president, assistant secretary, assistant chief and captain.

Bruce Gearhart has given 30 years to the department, Lucia said.

"Bruce is a people person. That's one of the reasons that he is so good at his present position of president of the department. He oversees the meetings and basically parallels the chief. We work well together," Lucia said.

Gearhart has served as captain, lieutenant, assistant secretary, and vice president of the relief fund.

The recipients of the three top awards were also recognized with citations from the Westmoreland County commissioners, the state Senate, the state House of Representatives and Mt. Pleasant Borough Council.

"You all make Mt. Pleasant a nice place to live," said borough council President Mike Tabita. "Thank you all for doing this."

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