Brian Williams Named DeKalb County Volunteer Firefighter of Year

January 19, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Steve Repasy (left), Brian Williams (Center), Matt Boss (right)
Honorary Lifetime Members: Billy Crymes, Dick Kinsey, and James Pennington

The 2013 DeKalb County Volunteer Firefighter of the Year is Brian Williams, Station Commander of the Main Station, located on King Ridge Road.

Williams received the award Saturday night during the Department's Annual Awards Banquet held at the DeKalb County Complex.

Chief Donny Green said Williams is more than worthy of the honor. "The DeKalb County Fire Department always wants to recognize firefighters who excel in applying their training and community service. Anyone can show up in a classroom or show up on an emergency scene and say they are learning or are efficient in their firefighting skills. However, our department is interested in recognizing firefighters who are demonstrating a high level of proficiency in applying their learning and making a difference at emergency incidents. It’s not the numbers that should impress anyone, it’s all about the results,” said Chief Green.

"Brian was nominated this year and the evaluation of his nomination considered his fire call response, training attendance, and community service participation. The fire calls and training attendance stand for themselves. He excelled in both of those areas. As far as his community service, Brian has demonstrated an outstanding community service by taking the lead in allowing our department to partner with the Tennessee Fire Marshall’s Office in the “Get Alarmed Tennessee” Smoke Alarm Program. Starting in April 2013 and up to December 31, 2013, Brian has sacrificed his personal time and expense to travel to every community in DeKalb County while installing 681 smoke alarms in homes with no alarms, or in homes with deficient alarms. Keep in mind, this enormous task not only included traveling to residences and delivering the free smoke alarms, but also included the time that he spent ensuring that every alarm was properly installed and functioning. The degree of safety for our DeKalb County residents has been dramatically improved with Brian’s efforts in this program responsibility that he voluntarily accepted. This type of community service, that so clearly demonstrates going above and beyond normal training and emergency response duties, is exactly what we want to recognize in the selection of this prestigious award. DeKalb County Fire Department attempts to recognize firefighters who reflect a positive image on our department in the community and there’s absolutely no doubt that Brian has accomplished this. As such, we are honored to announce that Brian Williams is DeKalb County Fire Department’s 2013 “Firefighter of the Year”.

Firefighter Steve Repasy received the Department’s 2013 “Git R Done" award. Captain Anthony Boyd and Lieutenant Kyle Casper made the presentation. This award is given to a firefighter who demonstrates exceptional sacrifices by attending works sessions, additional instructor-led fire related training, and working to enhance the department’s fundraising successes. Repasy willingly took on the task that entailed planning, fabricating, and installing storage racks on tanker trucks for the portable folding water tanks that the department uses to supply water in areas where hydrants are not readily available. This ability is vitally important in order for the department to be able to maintain adequate water supplies that meet the Insurance Services Office (ISO) minimum criteria for water supply. He also enlisted the help of Todd Cantrell who assisted him in planning and directing the project from start to finish. Repasy contributed about 50 hours of design and development. In total, Repasy and other firefighters donated 64 hours of installation labor. The General Metals Class performed about 160 hours in fabricating the tank racks. In combination, the class and other volunteers donated a total of about 274 man hours and services for this project allowing the cost of this project on all three tankers to be less than $400 total. Purchasing such racks from a fire service equipment vendor, and having them installed, would have easily cost the county fire department a minimum of $5,000. Repasy's commitment to sacrifice his personal time, while leading the numerous work sessions involved in this project, clearly shows why he is being recognized as the 2013 recipient of the DeKalb County Fire Department’s “Git R Done” Award.

The "Rookie" award went to Firefighter Matt Boss of the Liberty Station. Assistant Chief/Training Officer David Agee made the presentation. This award is exclusively based on hours of training and goes to a firefighter who completed his/her basic recruit training during 2013. Agee said the department feels that the most important thing we can do for our new recruits is to give them basic training and reinforce the importance of training. Consequently, training is the sole criteria that we use in the “Rookie of the Year” selection. From January through December 2013, Boss had 192 hours of training, including completion of the 64 hour Basic Firefighter Training. In addition to his Basic Recruit training, he has completed extra training to improve his fire fighting abilities. “We certainly want to recognize recruits who demonstrate an outstanding level of commitment to training. Our department is fortunate to have an excellent group of recruits who have excelled in training in 2013. We are proud of all of them and we are honored to name Firefighter Matt Boss as our “Rookie of the Year” for 2013,” said Assistant Chief Agee.

Four firefighters were recognized and presented pins for their years of service including the following:
Five years of service: Bradley Johnson (Short Mountain Station), Richard “Skip” Roberts (Austin Bottoms Station), and Steve Repasy (Midway Station).

Fifteen years of service: Captain Anthony Boyd

Three firefighters were awarded Honorary Lifetime Membership awards. James Pennington, a former Captain, Lieutenant, and a member of the Belk Station received this honor for his 11 years of service, both as an officer and firefighter, and his involvement in the Department’s Fire Prevention and Safety Program. Billy Crymes, a former Lieutenant and member of the Main Station was presented this award for his 10 years of service, both as an officer and firefighter, and his involvement in several construction projects within the Department. And lastly, Richard “Dick” Kinsey, a former Captain, Lieutenant, and member of the Short Mountain Station was awarded this honor for his 10 years of service, both as an officer and firefighter, and his contributions in instructing several vehicle operations training courses, CPR/First Aid courses, and his role in many special events.

Forty one members of the department were also presented incentive awards for their “above and beyond” efforts in regards to training attendance and fire call response. These awards are funded through a federal “Staffing for Fire and Emergency Response” (SAFER) grant, which Chief Green said is to help retain and recruit firefighters."In 2008, we were awarded a SAFER Grant from the federal government that is a non-matching local grant and does not require any local funding, it's 100% federal, to help us recruit and retain firefighters. Under this program, we've provided these training award incentives for firefighters who made 100% of their monthly training and at least 35% of their assigned station calls, or at least 75% of their monthly training and at least 35% of their assigned station calls. Our goal is to use these incentives as a tool to help encourage our firefighters to stay engaged and involved with the training and operation in our department." Firefighters who met the 100% attendance criteria in 2013, each received $400 (or a prorated amount if they have been active for less than the full year). Firefighters who met the 75% attendance criteria in 2013, each received $200 (or a prorated amount if they have been active for less than the full year).

Firefighters receiving 100% Training Perfect Attendance Awards are as follows:
Assistant Chief David Agee, Bobby Anderson, Lee Ansel, Josh Arnold, Jacob Bond, Matt Boss, Kelly Cantrell, Lieutenant Kyle Casper, Nelson Davis, Bill Fowler, Chief Donny Green, Bradley Johnson, Dustin Johnson, Jerry Wayne Johnson, Vert Komoroski, Harley Lawrence, Ronald Merriman, Jeremy Neal, Andy Pack, Shawn Puckett, Steve Repasy, Robin Summers, Tony Thomas, Calvin Tramel, Brian Williams, and Lieutenant Chris Wyke.

75% Training Attendance Awards:
Seth Braseel, Justin Brooks, Gelasio “Marco” Chacon, Donnie Johnson, Ian Johnson, Gary King, Zach Kubiak, Stan Morris, Bob Myracle, Jason Neal, Danny Parker, Brandon Pyles, Brent Reed, Billy Tiner, and Hugh Washer.
During the ceremony, Chief Green highlighted some of the major accomplishments achieved by the Department in 2013. In April, the Department began its first ever 6-week Citizens’ Fire Academy with 9 participants. Also in April, the Department partnered with the Tennessee Fire Marshall’s Office in the “Get Alarmed Tennessee” smoke detector program. From April through December, Firefighter Brian Williams headed up the free smoke alarm installation program and installed 691 smoke alarms in DeKalb County homes. In May, the Spring 2013 Session Citizens’ Fire Academy graduation ceremony was held at Center Hill Lake. Twelve of our members graduated from the Fire Academy’s 22-hour Live Burn Training in June. Additionally, in June, DeKalb County Fire Department and DeKalb County High School’s General Metals Shop completed a lengthy project that involved designing, building, and installing storage racks on three of the Department’s tanker/pumpers. In September, Firefighters Chris Wyke and Kyle Casper were promoted as Lieutenants. The Fall 2013 Session of the Citizens’ Fire Academy began in October and continued for 6 weeks. We had 9 students graduate on November 5," said Chief Green.

Approximately 175 people were in attendance at the Awards Banquet, including firefighters, their families, local and state officials, graduates of the 2013 Citizens’ Fire Academies (Spring and Fall session), and community partners. County Fire Chief Donny Green, who presided over the ceremony.

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