Ray Hodgson Inducted into MSFA Hall of Fame
It was announced on June 23, 2021, that Past Chief and Life Member Ramon “Ray” E. Hodgson, Jr. has been posthumously inducted in the Maryland State Firemen’s Association Hall of Fame.
Ray joined the Odenton Volunteer Fire Company (OVFC) on January 10, 1967 at the age of 16 and remained a very active member until his passing on October 30, 2015. He served in many administrative and operational positions, ultimately serving as OVFC Fire Chief in 2012 and 2013. In recognition of his more than 40-years of outstanding service to OVFC and to Anne Arundel County, Ray was bestowed Life Membership in the fire company and was inducted in the Anne Arundel County Volunteer Firefighters Association Hall of Fame in 2016.
Although Ray accepted a career position with the Anne Arundel County Fire Department in 1972, he continued to serve OVFC in various administrative capacities, including the annual carnival and other fundraising programs. After retiring from Anne Arundel County in 1994, he accepted a position with the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MFRI) as a Logistics Coordinator and immediately returned to an active responder role with OVFC. He rose through the operational ranks, reaching Assistant Chief in 2005 and Fire Chief in 2012.
Ray’s special interest was in training. He became a Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MFR)I instructor in 1988 and served several tours at the Anne Arundel County Fire Training Academy as a Recruit Training Officer. He also taught many volunteer personnel, often without compensation, Firefighter I, Firefighter II, Hazardous Materials, and his, specialty Technical Rescue. He established and trained the first Trench Rescue Team for Anne Arundel County. Ray was also a member of the FEMA Pennsylvania Task Force One, which culminated with his deployment as a Rescue Specialist on the debris pile at the New York World Trade Center following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. As a MFRI instructor, Ray worked with national committees on fireground and rescue safety and provided assistance to local departments on training programs.
Ray served as a member of the Maryland State Firemen’s Association (MSFA) Training Committee for many years, both as a department member and as a MFRI liaison. Because of his own personal knowledge, skills, and experience, he was able to offer much to the committee to help advance the training level of Maryland’s responders. In his position as MFRI Logistics Coordinator, he could ensure that MFRI training and equipment was always made available to support the volunteer fire and EMS service needs.
As part of the MFRI team, Ray was present at every MSFA convention. Ray would oversee the team’s preparations while still at College Park, getting information packets ready to be handed out at the convention. Then, the team would load up everything that was needed to make sure that the MFRI presence at the annual convention was well received by everyone that stopped by the booth to learn about training and certification opportunities offered by MFRI. If anyone else needed assistance around the convention center, Ray was quickly able to mass his crew together to provide the help needed.
Ray was also known for this community support activities. He annually scheduled Santa visits around the community on Odenton’s fire engines, even playing the role of Santa himself for many years along with his wife as Mrs. Santa. He was a strong supporter of the OVFC Ladies Auxiliary and their fundraising activities. Ray was also involved with the local community groups, including serving as a Director to the Greater Odenton Improvement Association and a member of the Odenton Heritage Society.
Ray was instrumental in transforming OVFC’s annual fire prevention open house event into “Odenton Day” where OVFC and all of the local community groups gather on the first Saturday in October to celebrate the heritage and history of the Odenton community. This event not only greatly increased the attendance at the fire company’s open house event but also provided the entire community with an opportunity to showcase its history and accomplishments.
Ray has dutifully served the interests of the OVFC and the fire service across Anne Arundel County and the state of Maryland for over 40 years. He was a strong proponent of training and firefighter safety and promoted the value of the volunteer fire company to the community.