State Fire Marshal to present matching grant checks to stations in Johnston, Wayne, Lenoir counties



RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey will honor firefighters for their service and heroism during a trip to Johnston, Wayne, and Lenoir counties on Thursday.

Commissioner Causey, who is also the State Fire Marshal, will also present ceremonial grant checks to four fire departments and help deliver smoke alarms to a station participating in this year’s Smoke Alarm Saturday.

During a stop at the Princeton Volunteer Fire Department, Commissioner Causey will present the Order of the Guardian Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Commissioner, to Kenneth Starling and his son Ken Starling.

The elder Starling will receive his award posthumously.

The elder Starling served the fire department for 62 years.

His son served 40 years, giving the father-son duo 102 years of combined service protecting the residents of Princeton.

The senior Starling has been a lieutenant in the Princeton Volunteer Fire Department for more than 40 years.

He also served as the department’s chaplain.

The younger Starling served as chief of the department from 1991 to 2007. Both retired from the department in August 2019.

During a stop at the LaGrange Fire Department, Commissioner Causey will present SAVE Awards to LaGrange firefighter Jared Barwick and North Lenoir firefighter Graham Stroud, whose quick action helped save a life during a mobile home fire on Pecan Grove Circle on December 27, 2019. SAVE Awards honor those who go above and beyond the call of duty with their actions.

State Fire Marshal Causey will also deliver ceremonial grant checks to four fire departments.

The matching grants help fire departments pay for equipment. Checks will be presented to the Saulston Volunteer Fire Department ($28,012.05), Fremont Fire Department ($23,130), Patetown Volunteer Fire Department ($13,152.50) and Princeton Volunteer Fire Department ($15,581.50).

While visiting the Patetown station, State Fire Marshal Causey will help deliver smoke alarms which the department will use as a part of its participation in Smoke Alarm Saturday, which kicks off on June 6.

Smoke Alarm Saturday, now in its third year, is Commissioner Causey’s effort to increase working fire alarms in North Carolina homes.

This year, the Office of State Fire Marshal will have a virtual kickoff, using social media.

Participating fire departments may choose to share links to the OSFM Facebook page.

The fire departments have until December 31 to install smoke alarms in their communities.

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