CECIL – For the past 47 years, Chief Ed Povirk has served the people of Cecil Township as a volunteer firefighter. Now at the age of 63, Povirk is being recognized both at the national and state levels for his service and commitment to his community.
On July 15 at a ceremony in Harrisburg, Povirk was awarded the Firefighter of the Year Award from the Pennsylvania division of the American Legion and the Northeast Firefighter of the Year award from the national Legion. He is the second firefighter in two years from Cecil Township who has received the state award after Assistant Fire Chief Paul Pivac won it last year.
“I find it hard to believe,” Povirk said. “I was shocked and pleasantly surprised.”
The award nominating process started at the local level with American Legion Post 793 in Cecil. From there, it went to the commonwealth for another round of voting and then to the national board.
The American Legion awards firefighters who have surpassed the expected requirements and day-to-day duties of their job. Qualified applicants must also have had a direct impact on their communities.
Having served for nearly half a century, and as chief for the past five years, Povirk demonstrated he is more than qualified to receive the award. When he is not volunteering at Engine Company 3, Povirk works as a police officer for Scott Township, Allegheny County. During the academic school year, he is the resource officer at Chartiers Valley Intermediate School.
He took a week’s vacation from his police officer job to help set up Cecil’s annual Volunteer Fire Department Carnival, which was held last week. It just one of many countless examples Povirk’s service to his community.
Povirk said that Cecil has seen a lot of growth and development during the past few decades. This, in turn, has led to an increased number of calls to the fire company.
“The type of service has changed,” Povirk said. “When I started, there were maybe 30 calls a year. Now we’re at 275 to 280 average over the past few years.”
Most of these calls, Povirk added, are fire alarm activations or service calls. While calls for fires do come in, they are not nearly as common.