Final Recipients of Josh Cellars $5,000 Training Grants Announced

Josh Cellars and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) partnered to provide 10 volunteer fire departments with $5,000 grants to help provide critical training to their members. The final two recipients are the Utica (MS) Volunteer Fire Department and the Water Witch Hose Company #2 (CT). 

Utica Volunteer Fire Department

The Utica Volunteer Fire Department is located in Hinds County, MS. Its 23 volunteers protect 12,500 residents over 75 square miles. In the county and surrounding rural population, over 35 percent of residents live at or below the poverty level, over 13 percent have been diagnosed with diabetes, there is a large elderly population, and heart disease and related conditions are prevalent. Additionally, the department is often first on scene for car accidents. These factors result in most of the department’s calls being medical. While a majority of the volunteers are trained as emergency medical responders (EMR), none are certified emergency medical technicians (EMT). 

The Josh Cellars training grant will help nine of its members plus up to six members from neighboring departments to obtain EMT certification. Having 15 EMTs fully trained and certified in the jurisdiction will greatly improve response times, and the volunteers will be able to provide an enhanced level of patient care for victims needing assistance, particularly in trauma situations. Having EMTs readily available will also help the department provide better care for their personnel on the fireground. The department operates in very humid conditions most of the year, resulting in extreme physical outputs for operational firefighters.

“The Josh Cellars grant will help us to pay for EMT training and provide us the opportunity to meet the overwhelming needs of our community with a greater scope of knowledge and skills of the emergency medical services,” said Chief Sammy White. 

“There is so much need in our jurisdiction as we respond to more medical calls than any other type,” said Lieutenant Lauren Wilkes Stubblefield. “The EMR training that some of us have received is great, but as EMTs more of us will be able to better understand the medical aspects of any emergency situation, ultimately saving lives for some of the most vulnerable residents in our state.” 

Water Witch Hose Company #2 

Serving the largest geographical town in Connecticut, the Water Witch Hose Company #2 of New Milford has been a staple in the community since 1863. The company has 47 volunteers who serve 22,500 residents over 40 square miles. All members are required to certify at Firefighter I, and most advance their training to Firefighter II. The department emphasizes training to ensure all members are ready to respond and can provide the highest level of protection to residents while also staying safe on the job. 

The Josh Cellars grant will help the department provide both veterans and new recruits with training on two topics – modern day forcible entry and firefighter survival and rescue. With the advancement of technology over the years, forcible entry is much more complex, and additional education and hands-on application is necessary in order to quickly and effectively enter a structure with the least amount of property damage. The firefighter survival and rescue course will help members learn advanced techniques to protect their crews and mutual aid partners so everyone can go home safely. All training will encompass both classroom and intensive practical skills sessions.

“We thank Josh Cellars for its commitment to volunteer fire departments, and we appreciate the NVFC for its continued support of the volunteer fire service,” said Assistant Chief Richard Squires. “It is only with the help of these community-minded companies that we can advance our training and provide our community with the highest quality of trained volunteer professionals.”

Grant Committee Chair David Golembeski added, “Our volunteers selflessly donate countless hours of training to prepare ourselves for whatever the call has in store. It is with these types of grants that we can equip our members with the skills and abilities that they need for any situation.” 

About the Grant

Josh Cellars wine was created by Joseph Carr as a tribute to his father – a volunteer firefighter and U.S. Army veteran. “Growing up, my dad Josh, our family, neighbors, and friends were all volunteer firefighters,” explains Carr. “It is a civic duty shared and understood by all where I come from that you always take care of your community. That’s why Josh Cellars is partnering with the NVFC to provide assistance to volunteer fire departments.”

To be eligible to apply for the grant, departments had to be over 50 percent volunteer, serve a population of 25,000 or less, be located in the U.S., and be a member of the NVFC. A full recap of the awards will be released in April. Stay tuned to the NVFC web site, Dispatch newsletter, and Facebook page for additional information. 

About Josh Cellars

Josh Cellars offers bold, complex and approachable wines for drinking with family and friends. Sourced from vineyards across California, Josh Cellars offers seven varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Rosé and a red blend, “Legacy.” Josh Cellars wines are available at retailers nationwide. Learn more at

About the NVFC

The NVFC is the leading nonprofit membership association representing the interests of the volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services. The NVFC serves as the voice of the volunteer in the national arena and provides invaluable resources, programs, education, and advocacy for first responders across the nation. Learn more at


No posts to display