C.J. Tramel of the Midway Station was named "County Firefighter of the Year" Saturday night during the department's annual awards banquet held at the Smithville Church of God annex.
County Fire Chief Donny Green, who presided over the ceremony, said Tramel met all the department's criteria in earning this award. "That award is based on three elements. One of the elements is firefighter training attendance. The second part is fire call response. We look at the number of fire calls that they actually responded to in correlation to the number of calls we had that year. The third element is community service. Anything we do with outside groups, schools, senior citizens, or projects we're working on, all those are evaluated as community service and it's one third of the score in meeting the criteria. The scores are then totaled and the person with the highest score gets the Firefighter of the Year award. The same three elements are also used by the department in honoring the Officer of the Year."
Lieutenant Bradley Mullinax received the "Officer of the Year" award. Chief Green says Mullinax is also the department's Fire Prevention and Safety Officer. " One of the big things that Bradley has really worked hard at and spent a lot of time on, in addition to his fire calls and training attendance, is the fire prevention program that he has actively spearheaded and directed here in the county, going to the schools and senior citizens groups. He has taught some CRP classes to some of the community groups. He's had a lot of community involvement. When we have community involvement, it makes the fire department look good. It's a good public relations tool, even though it might not be directly related to fire calls. When we have a representative who is going out and interacting with the community, it's makes for good public relations and Bradley has done that."
The "Rookie" award went to Logan Maynard of the Cookeville Highway Station. Chief Green says this award is totally based on hours of training. "We look at their monthly training drills and any outside training they do through the fire academy or any of the Upper Cumberland or Smoky Mountain weekend training courses. The award is based on the cumulative total of training hours. It's straightforward. Whoever gets the most certified training hours, gets the Rookie of the Year award because we feel like the first year of a firefighter's time in the department is the most critical in getting him or her in touch with the safety measures and everything that goes with firefighting and that's why emphasis is placed on training for Rookie of the Year."
Captain Jeff Williams was presented the "Git-R-Done" award. Chief Green says this award is based on a cumulative total of work session hours. " As we have work sessions, we send out notices to all of our firefighters that we're having a work session and we try to recognize the person who participates in our work sessions, whether it be working on a station, working on a truck, or putting equipment on a truck. One of the big things this last year was working on our main station renovation. We spent a lot of hours over there doing that. Again, the Git-R-Done award is based solely on work session hours. It doesn't take into consideration training or fire response. It's totally work session or additional effort type hours."
Lieutenant and department Chaplain Anthony Boyd received a ten year service pin and Dick Kinsey of the Short Mountain Highway Station, who was absent, was recognized for five years of service and he will receive a pin for his length of service.
Meanwhile, Dan Hancock, formerly of the Midway Station, Tim Pedigo of the Blue Springs Station, and Chris Tramel of the Liberty Station received "Honorary Lifetime Membership Awards".
Chief Green says these three men are very deserving of this honor. " Dan Hancock was one of the original charter members of the DeKalb County Fire Department back when it started in 1975. He was a member for more than twenty years and even though he is no longer an active firefighter, he still supports the fire department."
"Tim Pedigo was one of the key players in our main station renovation project. He is a contractor and construction worker and we used his skills. He contributed countless hours. He would get off from work in the afternoon and come out there and work until nine or ten o'clock, three and four nights a week, and all day on Saturday using his equipment, his tools, and his time. He was one of the key players in getting the main station building done and we felt like that was certainly a contribution that was extremely significant and we wanted to recognize Tim for his work on our building project."
"When he first joined, Chris Tramel actually was the firefighter who designed our fire department patch that we still use today. Chris has a lot of graphic skills. In addition to the patch design, he started our first website. He designed it and kept it updated. We have another guy who is taking care of that now but Chris still offers technical support and helps us with anything having to do with our computers and that sort of thing and we wanted to recognize his contributions. He's done all this in addition to being on the fire department. The mark that he has left on the fire department with the website and the patch is certainly something that's going to be carried on for many years."