Fire trucks are an anticipated response when disaster strikes, but they played an entirely different role on Saturday, Nov. 2 when they provided a special escort for the Dallas High School girls cross country team.
The girls, who took state championship gold at the Hershey Parkview Course earlier in the day, found themselves escorted from the Cross Valley Expressway to Dallas High School, complete with lights and sirens.
The team beat its second place opponents by a score of 99-128, securing the championship title.
Senior Dominic Deluca also secured his own gold medal as he came across the finish line first overall with a time of 16:21 – well ahead of his friend and Lake Lehman runner, Dominic Hockenbury, who finished second at 16:36.
The girls team - Regan Rome (2nd, 19:10), Lindsey Oremus (7th, 19:41), Bryanna Dissinger (8th, 19:47), Ally Rome (9th, 19:47), Riley Oremus (74th, 21:50), Ally Amos (114th, 23:01), Katie Gross (117,23:14) and Megan Ostrum (alternate) - waited nervously after the race, exploding into a laughing, crying, screaming, jumping frenzy upon hearing the news.
Thanks to showers and an overcast sky, the awards ceremony, which was scheduled to start at 2 p.m., was pushed by officials to begin early.
“That extra half hour helped me out,” said Maureen Oremus, mother of two state champs and Franklin Township Assistant Fire Chief, who had orchestrated the escort home. The fire companies were ready and waiting when the state champs took the planned Luzerne exit and pulled up to a huge line of trucks and ambulances waiting just for them.
“It was awesome,” said Lindsey Oremus, a junior firefighter. “I knew my mom had something planned, but all of us were just blown away when we saw and heard all of the trucks with full lights and sirens.”
“A few of the girls shed a tear, but fortunately they were happy ones,” said Deb Gross, another mother. “It was just beautiful. The kids deserved it.”
The team and coaches and families wish to thank Franklin Township Fire, Back Mountain Regional Fire & EMS, Kingston Township Fire, Trucksville Fire, Kunkle Fire, Back Mountain Regional Volunteer Firefighters Association, and Shavertown Fire.
Following a round of hugs and picture-taking outside Dallas High School, the state champs were treated to a celebratory dinner at Leggio’s in Dallas.