Recognition of that service now extends well beyond the Southern End.
On June 6, Welk was named the 2013 Chief of the Year for Lancaster County.
He becomes the first person to receive this award, inaugurated by the Lancaster County Fire Chiefs' Association. A deputy chief from the Garden Spot Fire Department received the Line Officer of the Year.
"I was completely surprised," he said last week. "I was surprised to even be considered for the award and amazed to be the first recipient of this award."
Welk became a lieutenant of the all-volunteer fire company a dozen years ago and rose through the ranks to become chief. He decided in 2013 not to seek a fifth year as chief.
"I wanted to go back to just being a firefighter," he said.
During his time as chief, the department responded to 1,757 calls, including 91 serious fires. The company also refurbished its tank truck and one of its two engines. It also installed automatic defibrillation devices on all of its equipment.
After stepping down as chief, he remained active with the fire company and, earlier this month, agreed to become the department's assistant chief.
The best part of being an officer is "the camaraderie and teamwork when we go on a call and have it go well," he said.
Quarryville has about 60 active members and answers more than 400 calls a year.
He credits the support of his fellow volunteers for his success as chief. "If it wouldn't be for the members, none of this would have been possible," he said. "We all pull together when the need arises."