The 2014 DeKalb County Volunteer Firefighter of the Year is Robin Summers, Station Commander of the Short Mountain Highway Station.
Summers received the award Saturday night during the Department's Annual Awards Banquet held at the DeKalb County Complex.
Meanwhile,Lieutenant Brian Williams was named the DeKalb County Fire Department’s 2014 Officer of the Year and Jeremy Neal, Station Commander of the Blue Springs Station, received the Department’s 2014 “Git R Done" award. The "Rookie" award went to Firefighter Steven Lawrence of the Liberty Station. In addition to these four long standing awards, a new one has been created called the "EMS Star of Life Award" which will be presented annually to a member of the department who goes above and beyond to extend joint cooperation in improving emergency medical training and responses for members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department. This year's winner is Kristie Johnson, Station Commander of the Main Station and a DeKalb EMS Paramedic.
The Firefighter of the Year Award was presented to Summers by Captain Anthony Boyd. "Robin 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, Robin has demonstrated an outstanding community service by taking the lead in allowing our department to be effective in fire prevention and education activities throughout the year. As Station Commander, Robin has gone to great extents to make himself available to train new recruits on his station, while also providing frequent refresher training to his veteran members assigned to the Short Mountain Station. The DeKalb County Fire Department attempts to recognize firefighters who reflect a positive image of the department in the community, and there’s absolutely no doubt that Robin has earned the honor of being named DeKalb County Fire Department’s 2014 “Firefighter of the Year”.
Chief Donny Green presented the "Officer of the Year" award and highlighted Lt. Williams’ achievement in training attendance, incident response, and community service. "Brian demonstrated an outstanding level of 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, 2014, Brian has sacrificed his personal time and expense to travel to every community in DeKalb County while delivering and installing just over 1,000 smoke alarms in homes with no alarms, or in homes with deficient alarms. The degree of safety for our DeKalb County residents has been dramatically improved with Brian’s efforts in this program. A responsibility that he voluntarily accepted. “This type of community service so clearly demonstrates exceptional community service, while going above and beyond normal training and emergency response duties, and is exactly why Lt. Brian Williams was selected and recognized with the prestigious 2014 “Officer of the Year” Award, said Chief Green.
Neal's "Git R Done" award was presented by Lieutenant Jay Cantrell. "This award is given to a firefighter who demonstrates exceptional sacrifices by attending work sessions, additional instructor-led fire related training, and working to enhance the department’s fundraising successes. Jeremy willingly took on a leading role in planning and redesigning the department’s Jamboree food booth. The food booth is used each year at the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Crafts Festival and is the department’s major fundraising event. Jeremy headed up the booth renovation project that doubled the size of the food booth and helped make our 2014 food booth fundraiser the most successful year ever. Jeremy’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 2014 recipient of the DeKalb County Fire Department’s “Git R Done” Award."
The "Rookie of the Year" award is exclusively based on hours of training and goes to a firefighter that completed his/her basic recruit training during 2014, according to Assistant Chief/Training Officer David Agee who made this year's presentation. "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 used in the “Rookie of the Year” selection. From January through December 2014, Steven had 168.75 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 firefighting 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 2014. We are proud of all of them and we are honored to name Firefighter Steven Lawrence as our “Rookie of the Year” for 2014,” said Asst. Chief Agee.
Johnson's award, presented by Chief Green, is for her achievement in coordinating an Emergency Medical Responder course that was hosted in DeKalb County and which allowed many of the Department’s members to participate and complete the training. Kristie also conducted multiple CPR courses in the county. Because of her efforts, members of the Department have benefited by having better access to medical training opportunities. Chief Green commended Acting EMS Director Hoyte Hale for the cooperation and assistance extended to the department.
10 firefighters were recognized and presented pins for their years of service including the following:
5 years of service: Nelson Davis (Station Commander of the Cookeville Hwy. Station),
Bill Fowler (Station Commander of the Temperance Hall Station),
Robin Summers (Station Commander of the Short Mtn. Station), and
Gary King (Austin Bottom Station)
10 years of service: Jeremy Neal (Station Commander of the Blue Springs Station),
Tim Pedigo (Blue Springs Station), and
Calvin Tramel (Station Commander of the Midway Station)
15 years of service: Captain Michael Lawrence
25 years of service: Danny Parker (Johnson’s Chapel Station)
40 years of service: Wilson Williams (Liberty Station)
Assistant Chief David Agee was awarded the Department’s Honorary Lifetime Membership. David Agee, a former Captain, Lieutenant, and a member for 19 years is currently serving his second term as the Department’s Assistant Chief. He has made significant contributions to continued progress of the Department.
Thirty seven members of the department were also presented incentive awards for their “above and beyond” efforts in regards to training attendance and fire call response. Award incentives are provided to 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. Chief Green says the goal is to use these incentives as a tool to help encourage volunteer firefighters to stay engaged and involved with the training and operation in the department. Firefighters who met the 100% attendance criteria in 2014, 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 2014, each received $200 (or a prorated amount if they have been active for less than the full year).
Firefighters receiving 100% Level Incentive Awards are as follows:
Asst. Chief David Agee, Matt Boss, Bill Fowler, Chief Donny Green, Donnie Johnson, Dusty Johnson, Jerry Wayne Johnson, Kristie Johnson, Wayne Johnson, Vert Komoroski, Ronald Merriman, Jeremy Neal, Andy Pack, Shawn Puckett, Brent Reed, Steve Repasy, Robert Sartin, Robin Summers, Calvin Tramel, and Lt. Brian Williams.
Firefighters receiving 75% Level Incentive Awards are as follows:
Matt Adcock, Josh Arnold, Brayde Baker, Seth Braseel, Lt. Kyle Casper, Gelasio “Marco” Chacon, Nelson Davis, Anthony Johnson, Mark Johnson, Gary King, Harley Lawrence, Steven Lawrence, Bob Myracle, Jason Neal, Danny Parker, Hugh Washer, and Lt. Chris Wyke.
Belk Station Commander Andy Pack presented a special Award of Appreciation to Joanna Pennington of the Belk Community. Mrs. Pennington has continuously helped secure financial support for the Belk Station.
To conclude the ceremony, Chief Green officially announced recent officer selections. Lieutenant Jay Cantrell has been promoted to the rank of Captain and Firefighter Jeff Williams has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.
The Annual Awards Banquet began with a delicious meal and excellent entertainment from Steve Brogan, a comedian and ventriloquist who mixes stand-up comedy, puppetry, audience participation, and improvisation, along with his astonishing voice manipulations. Approximately 175 people were in attendance at the Awards Banquet, including firefighters, their families, local and state officials, graduates of the 2014 Citizens’ Fire Academies (Spring and Fall session), and community partners. County Fire Chief Donny Green presided over the ceremony.