Mantua – Last Sunday afternoon, the Mantua-Shalersville Fire Department held a ceremony that was over 18 years in the making. That’s when the department presented a fire axe to former Fire Captain Ed Leferink, who retired in the late 1990’s, in a ceremony that day.

According to firefighter and unofficial station historian Tim Benner, Fire Captain Ed Leferink, a 90-year-old World War II veteran, had retired in the late 1990s. Unfortunately, at that time, a recognition ceremony was never held to honor Captain Leferink’s long career of service. “Ed is such a hardworking, unassuming guy, and we wanted to be sure to correct that oversight, “ Benner explained. “We were proud to honor him by awarding him a ceremonial fire ax to recognize his 26 years of service to our community.”

Current and retired firefighters, family and friends surrounded retired Captain Leferink during the ceremony, which was immediately followed by a luncheon. Resident Marielle thanked the group, commenting, “Thank you to all for the wonderful job you do in our community!” Local resident Erin Herbold had a more personal message specifically for the retired Captain. “Love you, grandpa,” she beamed.