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May-31-2009 18:12printcomments

Oregon Fire Awards Recognize Selfless and Courageous Dedication

People who live at the edge of the blade: Oregon's firefighters and emergency service teams, along with a few civilians including a TV news crew from Portland, are recognized for their extraordinary efforts.
Oregonians honored at this year's event.

(CANBY, Ore.) - Citizens of Oregon enjoy an enviable sense of security with the fire agencies listed below. They were recognized this weekend at an honorary awards ceremony.

The list of award recipients at this year's Oregon Meritorious Awards from the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association, also goes far beyond the services, and recognizes the help they receive from police, civilians and even a Portland, Oregon TV news crew.

Highly trained and adept at accomplishing difficult and dangerous goals, those honored hail from all over the state and represent some of Oregon's smaller agencies, as well as city departments like Portland and Salem.

Oregon residents have highly trained, extremely efficient fire and emergency services and the records of these agencies and individuals speaks for itself.

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Fire District of the Year- Jackson County Fire District #3‏

This year Jackson County Fire Distric #3 was recognized as the "The District of the Year", by Special Districts Association of Oregon (SDAO).

Jackson County Fire District #3 is an Internationally Accredited Fire Agency who has earned the respect as a leader in the Oregon Fire Service.

For more information about Jackson County Fire District #3 you can visit their comprehensive web site at: Chief Dave Hard accepted the Award.

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Unit Citation - Battalion Chief Jim Davis, Lt. Steven Boughey, FF Blake Reichel - TVFR‏

TVF&R's Battalion Chief Jim Davis, Lt. Steven Boughey, FF Blake Reichel have raised the bar in setting standards for firefighter safety training.

Seeing the need for "large area search" training, BC Jim Davis, Lt. Steven Bouchey and FF Blake Reichel implemented, built and rolled out the training program in their own department. Finding success within their own department, the team offered the training to other smaller departments.

Taking it a step further, they also provided an engine company so that each shift could go off line and train without being interrupted by a call.

BC Jim Davis, Lt. Steven Bouchey and FF Blake Reichel have shown an unselfish commitment to fire service excellence and were awarded the OFCA's Unit Citation, presented by OFCA President Ted Kunze.

Oregon Meritorious Award - Presidents Awards - Tim McLain and Kelly Bach - OSP and TVF&R‏

This year two individuals were recognized by Oregon Fire Chief's Association President Ted Kunze, who, in his eyes "have put a lot of time and personal effort into improving relationships between many different Fire Service partners."

The 1st Award went to Tim McLain, the Superintendent of the Oregon State Police.

Since becoming Superintendent, Tim has worked hard to make sure that the Fire Marshal's office is well represented within his agency. This included an extensive involvement by the Oregon Fire Service in selection of our New Fire Marshal, Randy Simpson.

Chief Kunze shared, "The first time I met Tim was one year ago here at this event. And I must tell you I came away from that evening impressed at his willingness to become involved in what is happening within the Fire Service....I must say he has impressed me with his attitude of "let's make it happen"."

Next, Chief Kunze recognized Kelly Bach, President of the Oregon State Firefighters Council also as a Captain with TVF&R.

Chief Kunze explains Captian Bach's contributions, "Over this last year as President of the Oregon Fire Chiefs, I have had several occasions to meet with Kelly to work towards the betterment of the Oregon Fire Service.

During this time, I have seen Kelly break down many of the barriers that would in the past kept labor and management from working together to find a common good. It is because of Kelly's leadership, as well as his willingness to reach compromise that we enjoy the open relationship we now have between labor and management in the Fire Service.

During our current Legislative session, the Fire Service has enjoyed several successes. Many of those can be contributed to Kelly Bach, who has worked openly with management to make Oregon's Fire Service better for all". Both recipients recieved their awards from OFCA President Ted Kunze.

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Golden Trumpet - Ed Wilson - Lake Oswego Fire‏

The Gold trumpet is the most prestigious honor awarded in the Oregon Fire Service and is awarded for exceptional contributions to the fire service. lake Oswego Fire Chief Ed Wilson was recognized for this honor.

Chief Ed Wilson served with the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association for twelve (The average tour is 7 years) He served with diligence and excellence.

He helped strengthen our alliance with our strategic partners while serving on :
•The joint fire service legislative committee
•Governors fire service policy council
•SFM life and safety recognition program
•Board member of the trauma intervention program
•DPSST Board Moving on from the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association Chief Wilson served as President on the Western Fire Chiefs Association.

It was with great honor and pleasure, siting his "valued leadership and exceptional commitment to the Oregon Fire Service" that Chief Wilson be recognized with the Golden Trumpet, presented by Past OFCA President Greg Keller.

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Silver Trumpet - Don Milligan - Monmouth Fire (Retired)‏

The Oregon Fire Chief's Association had the distinct honor of awarding the Silver Trumpet. The Silver Trumpet is the highest award the Oregon Fire Chiefs' Association bestows to acknowledge exceptional contributions by a non-fire service individual. To date, this award has only been given four times.

Don Milligan began his public service career in the U.S. Navy - 4 years active, 20 years reserve. He served in the Fire Protection and Recruiting Services from 1951 – 1975. Don began his fire service career as a volunteer with Central Point Fire Department. He worked as a Volunteer Assistant Fire Chief from 1958 – 1965.

He became the first paid Fire Chief in Monmouth in 1966, retired 1988. When he came to Monmouth there was a department of 2 Engines, a Ford Station Wagon Ambulance, 9 Volunteers and 5 Active. When he retired he had over 100 active firefighters and 25 pieces of equipment including ALS.

Don is a Life Member of the Oregon Fire Chiefs' Association. He has worked tirelessly as a former Board Member and Registrar for the Northwest Management Seminar. Salem Fire Chief Greg Kellar made the presentation.

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Lifetime Achievement - Tim Birr - TVFR (Retired)‏

This award shall be considered to be the "Hall of Fame" award of the fire service. The Lifetime Achievement Award may be given to a nominee who has distinguished his or herself with a lifetime of exemplary public fire service. The recipient of this award will have contributed no less than 10 years of service promoting fire and life safety; their accomplishments should reach beyond the department and should be universally known to the fire service.

In 1973, this individual began his fire service career as a firefighter-EMT with the Eugene Fire Department and spent more than nine years there as a line firefighter, lieutenant, and captain.

On a part-time basis in 1979, he began serving as the Department's first Public Information Officer. He ultimately worked for a decade as the primary spokesman and media liaison for police, fire, EMS, 911, and emergency management.

Highly regarded as an expert by his peers as well as the media. A former regional director of the National Information Officers Association, he has instructed and lectured extensively on the topic of media relations to the fire service and other emergency responders.

One of the deadliest fires in Oregon's history occurred in 1996, claiming eight lives. Tim Birr successfully managed news media coverage, and coordinated victim assistance and liaison with local government.

His finesse and diplomacy in handling this calamity launched him into the national spotlight as a guest speaker. In 2004, he finally joined the ranks of the "retired", spending the first year of his retirement as a governmental affairs consultant to Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue. He still claims he's retired, although you wouldn't know it based on his continued contributions to the fire service and community.

He worked many years to get the Fire Safe Cigarette legislation passed and was also an integral part of the FireSafe Coalition on the Novelty Lighter law that was just passed this session, which will become law June 2nd, 2009.

He continues to uphold the values and traditions of the fire service as a founder and participating Pipe Major in Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue's Pipes and Drums. This overview only touches on a few of the highlights of this long and distinguished career.

Obviously, this gentleman has a passion for everything related to emergency services, along with an enduring commitment to his fellow responders.

Many individuals are honored to describe this man as a kindhearted and giving friend. Representing the heart and soul of Oregon's fire service, irrefutably, he is an outstanding member of the Oregon Fire Service Hall of Fame.

In admiration of your unselfish commitment and on behalf of all of the members of TVF&R, Eugene Fire and EMS and the innumerable amount of individuals in the fire service who have received his advice, guidance and counsel for more than 30 years, the Oregon Fire Chief's Association presented Tim Birr with this distinguished award. The Lifetime Achievement.

The award was presented by TVF&R Fire Chief Jeff Johnson.

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Citizen Life Saving Award - Jan Sauls, Jim Berens and Adam Berens‏

Canby Fire Paramedics arrived on scene at the Clackamas County Fair on August 15, 2008, a 100 degree day, – to find Jim Berens and Jan Sauls on their knees on hot pavement performing life-saving CPR on an unconscious female. Adam, Jim's son was assisting the victim's children as best he could.

Chaotic at best, another first aid was being handled by the initial on scene first aid team. Jim and Jan, RN's at Willamette Falls Hospital, just happened upon the collapsed adult--unaware each other was at the Fair.

The responding paramedics knew Jim from past emergency room contact and left him at the patient's airway while they initiated their treatment. The code (medical term for resuscitation efforts) was very difficult to manage. The patient's airway was clinched tight and she was vomiting, which placed both citizens at an even higher risk, as they did not have any safety gear.

Jan and Jim performed their functions without consideration of their own safety or convenience. Ultimately, the victim survived the cardiac event and today has very little deficit.

Without regard for personal safety and taking immediate life-saving action in performing CPR on the victim of cardiac arrest, the Oregon Fire Chiefs' Association President Ted Kunze proudly awarded Jim Berens, Adam Berens and Jan Sauls the Citizen Life Saving Award.

Also present in the audience was Chris Windell, the victim whom they saved.

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Award of Excellence - Greg Keller - Salem Fire‏

Greg's career in the fire service spans more than 30 years, with four different agencies: Boring Fire District, Tualatin Fire District, Portland Fire & Rescue, and the City of Salem Fire Department.

Greg spent 28 years with Portland Fire & Rescue where he attained the rank of Division Chief.

As Division Chief, he held leadership positions in all four of Portland's Fire & Rescue divisions. While assigned to the Logistics Section at Portland Fire, he provided project management and oversight for building and remodeling fire stations and making infrastructure improvements that were funded by a 10-year, $58 million General Obligation Bond.

As the Division Chief of Training & Safety, Keller oversaw initial and ongoing training for Portland's Urban Search and Rescue Team. He has also served as one of the Incident Commanders for Portland's Emergency Operations Center.

Keller has been involved with initiatives to improve diversity hiring for firefighters and helped lead Portland Fire's Diversity Committee.

Earlier in his career, one of Greg's assignments with Portland Fire & Rescue included oversight of the Fire & Arson Unit, which required dual certification as a police officer, prompting Greg to attend the basic police course at the Oregon Public Safety Academy.

On a bit of a humorous note, while attending the course, Greg was filming training segments and left his video camera on the side of the driver training course only to be run over by a police car a short time later.

The camera was beyond recognition after the event. DPSST rejected Greg's submission of a risk management claim.

While serving as Captain in the Fire & Arson Unit, Greg took part in a national program which provided accelerant detection dogs to fire investigation teams.

Greg was paired with Charlotte, a 7-year-old black Labrador, who had flunked out of the Guide Dog Foundation School because she was too hyper.

While Charlotte may not have had what it took to be a guide dog, she became a great accelerant detection dog. Greg and Charlotte served as a team in the program for a number of years and assisted local, state and federal investigators throughout the nation.

On July 16, 2007, Greg was selected as the Fire Chief for the City of Salem. During his tenure with the department, he oversaw construction of four new fire stations and replacement of all front-line fire apparatus. Greg will retire from the Salem Fire Department on June 1, 2009.

Greg is an active member of the Oregon Fire Chiefs' Association, serving on the Board of Directors for the last seven years. His tenure on the Board included serving as President in 2007-08.

In addition, Greg has worked in a number of fire service and community organizations including the National Fire Academy Region X TRADE Training & Education Advisory Committee, the Oregon Trail Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Oregon Fire & Life Safety Team, the Northwest Leadership Seminar Committee, and the Governor's Fire Service Policy Committee, which he currently chairs.

Greg has always led by example and still maintains his Paramedic certification, allowing him to spend time with his wife, Liz in the Columbia Gorge providing medical care to Young Life campers each summer.

These are only a few of Greg's accomplishments. Because of his commitment and steadfast dedication to the Oregon fire service, the Oregon Fire Chiefs' Association proudly bestowed the Award of Excellence to Chief Keller. The award was presented by OFCA President Ted Kunze.

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Award of Excellence - Elaine Parrott - Jefferson Rural Fire District‏

Elaine Parrott joined the Jefferson Rural Fire District as Administrative Assistant on March 1, 1996. She has brought a remarkable passion for community service and the improvement of public safety to her job. Her accomplishments include: •Initiating the District's bicycle helmet program, providing local children a free or low cost bicycle helmet on request.
•Serving on the Oregon Life Safety Team
•Being a member of the Oregon Fire Service Office Administrators Association
•Being a leader on the Jefferson Fire District Support Team
•Acting as principal organizer of the Jefferson Fire District Emergency Services Expo
•Acting as Jefferson Fire District's and the Red Incident Management Team's Public Information Officer
•Being actively involved in the development and implementation of the Marion County Joint Information System/Center
•Serving on the Oregon Fire Chiefs' Association volunteer compensation committee
•Serving on the OFCA's Foundation Board of Directors Elaine's hard work and leadership has had a positive and sustained impact on public safety in the Jefferson community and beyond.

The Oregon Fire Chiefs Association proudly awarded Elaine Parrott the Award of Excellence. The award was presented by OFCA President Ted Kunze.

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Award of Excellence - Lt. Dan Rossos - Portland Fire and Rescue‏

Lt. Dan Rossos has worked for the Portland Fire Bureau for over 26 years, involved in training for at least six of those years. He is one of the most respected and influential members of the Bureau.

Demonstrating a high level of concern for firefighter safety throughout his career, Lt. Rossos was requested to participate in the development of National safety standards as a member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

He currently chairs the following four committees:
•NFPA 1852 "Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), 2008 Edition
•NFPA 1981 "Standard on Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus for Fire and Emergency Services, 2007 Edition
•NFPA 1984 "Standard on Respirators for Wildland Operation (brand new committee)
•NFPA 1989 "Standard on Breathing Air Quality for Fire and Emergency Services Respiratory Protection", 2008 Edition And is a principle on at least nine more committees.

Lt. Rossos routinely travels throughout the nation representing the Oregon Fire Service in these critical discussions—often doing so on his own time.

It comes as no surprise to know that this gentleman has made a tremendous impact on industry and safety for the fire service.

The Oregon Fire Chiefs' Association thanked Lt Rossos for his dedication to firefighter safety with the Award of Excellence, presented by OFCA President Ted Kunze.

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Award of Excellence - John Oliver - Clackamas Fire‏

Chief John Oliver has been with Clackamas Fire since 1993, where he moved up the ranks from Firefighter to his current position of Battalion Chief. Chief Oliver, as a firefighter, saw a need for a water rescue program within the Fire District.

He developed a program and convinced the Fire Chief and Board of Directors to fund the program. John was influential in forming the Water Rescue Consortium and is still an active member.

Chief Oliver was also instrumental in bringing other specialty rescue disciplines to the District over the years. Two years ago Chief Oliver was assigned to the Training Division, where he has been active in the growth and expansion of the Division.

John is currently in the planning stages to rebuild the Training Center. He has been a member of several organizations over the years and is the current President of the Northwest Association of Fire Trainers (NAFT), a regional training association which represents the Portland Metro Area.

Chief Oliver has been stellar in his performance and is one of the shining stars for the future of both the Fire District and the fire service.

The Oregon Fire Chiefs Association awarded Chief John Oliver the Award of Excellence.

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Award of Excellence- Don Porth - Portland Fire and Rescue‏

The Award of Excellence may be presented to any individual who performs one or more of the following:
a.An act of intelligence and valuable service, demonstrating special faithfulness or perseverance.
b.Highly credible acts of fire service over an extended period of time.
c.Continuous professionalism, as indicated by superiors and performance evaluations, or who has, in a specific instance, performed his/her duties in a particularly admirable manner.
d.Developed a program, process or equipment that positively affects the Fire Service.
e.Currently serves as the President or Chairperson of an Oregon-based fire-related Association that is recognized by the Oregon Fire Service.

Public Education Officer Don Porth has faithfully served Portland Fire and Rescue for 25 years, holding the positions of firefighter, juvenile firesetter specialist, public education officer, and fire inspector. His contributions are many, including his continued advocacy for injury prevention while he chairs the Metro Injury Prevention Coalition.

This group continues to lead the country on risk-based education and injury reduction programs targeting the highest risk populations. Don also remains active with the juvenile firesetter programs by running SOS Fires, a non-profit educational website targeted at youth intervention programs and resources. For years Don had a vision of a central Learning Center for fire safety education.

This concept was realized with the opening of old Fire Station #9 as the Belmont Learning Center. Since 2004, more than 27,000 people have visited the Learning Center, including youth groups, scouts, senior citizens, and individuals with disabilities/ Don also maintains a monthly newsletter, sharing history and new additions as this organization grows and evolves.

Although the Learning Center has much to see, the flagship is the interactive fire engine, where guests actually buckle up in a real fire engine cab and look through the window as the fire engine responds to various emergencies, with real lights, sirens, and vehicles acting just as they do when the fire engine races to the next emergency. Due to Don's tenacity and vision Portland Fire and Rescue has a true treasure to share with all who visit.

The Oregon Fire Chiefs' Association awarded Public Education Officer Don Porth the Award of Excellence, presented bu OFCA President Ted Kunze.

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Distinguished Conduct - Paul LeSage - TVFR‏

On January 17, 2009 while off-duty and traveling in his personal automobile, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue Assistant Chief and Lake Oswego resident Paul LeSage had entered a roundabout located at Carmen Drive and Meadows Road in Lake Oswego.

Assistant Chief LeSage narrowly missed being struck by a 110' tall Douglas Fir tree that had fallen across the road in front of him. As the dust cleared, Chief LeSage quickly realized that the uprooted tree had crushed the passenger compartment of a Ford F150 pickup truck that had entered the roundabout from the opposite direction.

With little regard for his own safety, Chief LeSage rushed to the vehicle to check on its occupants.

Upon reaching the damaged vehicle, Chief LeSage found a 26-year-old female passenger trapped in the back seat.

Carefully stepping around the energized power lines and transformer arching less than 10 feet from the damaged vehicle, Chief LeSage forced open a door and crawled into the vehicle to perform triage. The patient was found to be unresponsive and without respirations.

Utilizing his training as an EMT paramedic, Chief LeSage re-established respirations by repositioning the patient's head, thereby opening her airway. He stayed with the patient, maintaining C-spine traction until she was extracted from the vehicle by Lake Oswego Fire personnel.

Those same personnel agree that the patient would not have survived had it not been for Chief LeSage, who acted professionally and efficiently, despite being faced with severe hazardous conditions and specific danger to him.

The Oregon Fire Chiefs' Association proudly awarded Chief Paul LeSage with the Distinguished Conduct Award. The award was presented by OFCA President Ted Kunze.

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Distingushed Conduct - Steve Crofcheck - Albany Fire‏

The Distinguished Conduct Award may be awarded to any member of the fire service who has acted with professionalism and efficiency when faced with a specific danger or adversity and who has carried out his/her duties properly despite this danger/adversity. The action for which this award is given shall be considered exceptional by other emergency responders. Off duty and on his way home from shift on December 26, 2008, Albany Fire's Steve Crofcheck noticed smoke coming from a neighborhood adjacent to Highway 20.

At first he thought it was smoke from a backyard burn, but as he drove closer to the neighborhood he noticed the smoke color and amount didn't correspond with a backyard burn. His intuition leading him to investigate a little further, Steve quickly found the house and realized he was correct--there was indeed a house on fire.

Steve called 911 and reported the fire. He performed a walk around the structure, pounding on doors and windows to see if anyone was home.

By the time he circled the house, Albany Fire Department Truck 13 was arriving. He quickly advised them of the situation—interior fire, cars parked in the driveway, etc.

A neighbor believed there was someone home and he had pounded on the doors with no response.

Using the information AO Crofcheck provided, forcible entry was made into the house. Using a thermal imaging camera, the crew quickly found a 67-year-old female who had succumbed to smoke.

The interior fire crew dragged the victim out of the house and passed her to Medic 12 and AO Crofcheck who started treating the unresponsive patient. There is no doubt that this is a case of "every second counts".

If AO Crofcheck would not have "read" and subsequently investigated the smoke he observed while driving home, there is no doubt the outcome would have been different. Due to AO Steve Crofcheck's actions and his internal call-to-duty, this woman's life was saved.

The Oregon Fire Chiefs' Association recognized Apparatus Operator Steve Crofcheck with the Distinguished Conduct Award, presented by OFCA President Ted Kunze.

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Unit Citation - Dallas Fire Department, Dallas EMS, Falls City Fire Department, Life Flight and Oregon National Guard - C Company, 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment‏

In the early morning hours of May 5, 2008, approximately 12 miles out of Falls City in steep snow-covered hills, a logger was struck and subsequently pinned under a falling tree. His co-workers were able to free him and carried him out of freshly felled timber.

One of his co-workers traveled down a service road until he could obtain cell service, contacting 911 and activating Life Flight.

Upon arrival, Falls City Fire's quick response team, a medic unit from Dallas EMS, and a rescue and duty officer from Dallas Fire personnel found a patient with severe head and chest injuries.

Command was established and patient care was immediately provided by units arriving on scene. While the patient was packaged for transport to a loading zone for Life Flight, the Oregon National Guard was contacted for airlift assistance.

The original loading zone for Life Flight was a few miles away and the victim would have had to be transported by foot 800 yards down a steep ravine and time was becoming critical. A UH-60 Blackhawk was dispatched from the 158th Aviation Regiment stationed at Salem Airport.

While the helicopter was en route, the patient's condition worsened, requiring advanced airway control and relief of a tension pneumothorax. Fire and EMS personnel were not deterred by the situation and stabilized the 64-year-old man while awaiting the Oregon National Guard.

The Oregon National Guard UH-60 stopped and picked up a nurse at the original Life Flight landing zone and then proceeded to the incident site.

Upon arrival, a military medic was lowered to the scene and the patient was lifted via Stokes basket into the Blackhawk overhead. The H-60, staffed by the Life Flight nurse and the military crew, transported the critical patient to OHSU.

The assistance provided by a number of organizations and the seamless coordination of resources illustrates what can be accomplished when a number of agencies work together toward a common goal.

The following members of the Dallas Fire Department, Dallas EMS, Falls City Fire Department, Life Flight and Oregon National Guard - C Company, 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment were recognized for their life saving efforts with a Unit Citation:
Joshua Darland
Dennis Unger
Sean Condon
Lisa Friedow
Rob Anderson
Todd Brumfield
Joe Koubek Kim Storms
Michael Hasson
Amy Yount Shane Castle
AJ Bishop
Dennis Castle
Will Smith
Donavan Watkins
Brett Wyatt Paul Pharr
Patrick Dowling
Chris Boehm CPT Adam Lulay- deployed to IRAQ
CW2 Ryan Estill - deployed to IRAQ
SGT Chris Skidmore - deployed to IRAQ
SGT Brandon Names - deployed to IRAQ
Jerry Brennan present to accept award.

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Unit Citation - Nestucca Rural Fire Protection District‏

This extraordinary group of individuals responded to a horrific sand rail accident in the dunes of the Sand Lake Recreation Area on the night of September 26, 2008. The professionalism, dedication to duty and compassion these responders portrayed led to three lives being saved. This emergency scene was horrific and will be forever etched in their minds, but their action this night make them true heros in the industry. They were recognized for:
• Prevailing over the difficulty of accessing the scene
• Anticipating the need and utilizing newly installed extraction equipment on the sand rescue vehicles
• Controlling and comforting over 100 bystanders on the scene, including family members of deceased and serious injured persons
• Having all patients transported within 40 minutes of first arriving on the scene This group truly defines the word "Exceptional". The Oregon Fire Chief's Association proudly presented the Unit Citation to Nestucca Rural Fire District. The following members were recognized:
Division Chief John Kiefels
Captain Levi Beachy
Captain Jim Straessle
Lt. Travis Cole
Lt. Don Harrison
Simon Carrillo
Laurie Caspell
Jaynie Cole
Ann Cunningham
John Eckhardt
Patrick Maahs
Neil Marquis
Kathie Remington
Sherrianne Remington
Jeneanne Upton
Jared Wakefield

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Medal of Valor - Lt. Aaron Burris - Tillamook Fire‏

The Medal of Valor may be awarded to an individual who, intelligently and in the line of duty, distinguishes him/herself in the performance of an act of courage involving risk of imminent serious physical injury, with knowledge of such risk, for the purpose of saving or protecting human life.

Or, in the course of an extended investigation of a nature where he/she is continuously and singly exposed to grave personal hazard, willingly accepts such risk. In using the ladder method for this rescue, it required one man to position himself on the ladder itself; Lt. Aaron Burris was that man. He placed himself on the tip of the ladder which was resting on a large tree limb directly over the SUV. He secured the two infants via rope and tether with PFD (infant/toddler size) and then handed the two infants down to awaiting rescuers.

Lt. Burris remained on the ladder when it was transferred into the seesaw position and assisted the mother out of danger. For Lt Aaron Burris's extreme courage involving imminent danger to himself and with knowledge of such risk for the purpose of saving lives, the Oregon Fire Chiefs' Association awarded the Medal of Valor, presented by OFCA President Ted Kunze.

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Citizen Life saving Award - Maddie McRae‏

Maddie McRae was not able to attend the ceromony, but was still recognized for her life saving efforts in the Fawcett Creek washout, where he action, courage, and bravery working with her family and then summing for help, saved lives.

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Citizen Life Saving Award - Eric Taylor, Matt Rashleigh and Gabe Austin - KOIN Channel 6‏

News Reporter Eric Taylor and Videographers Matt Rashleigh and Gabe Austin were in Tillamook, on Fawcett Creek covering the flooding in Tillamook County.

It never occurred to this news team that they would be part of the rescue efforts.

The cameras assisted in lighting up the scene to make it easier for the responders to access the victims. More important, the TV crew became rescuers by providing hands-on assistance when the see-saw style ladder rescue was implemented.

The assistance rendered by the KOIN-TV crew resulted in lives being saved that night. The Oregon Fire Chiefs' Association recognized KOIN's new/ rescue team with the Citizen Life Saving Award, presented by OFCA President Ted Kunze.

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Distinguished Conduct - Lt. Roy Ellerbroek and FF Alex Burris - Tillamook Fire

Within the agencies that played a role in saving many lives on the evening of November 12, 2008 on Fawcett Creek, a number of individuals went above and beyond the call of duty.

Tillamook Fire Lt. Ellerbroek and FF Burris made the first contact with the (4) occupants stranded on the log jam. Lt. Ellerbroek and FF Burris moved the victims off the jam as it was "bouncing and moving" in the current. They moved the family one at a time to an area in the trees where the water was only thigh deep, providing more of a stable surface to stand in.

The new location was located approximately halfway back to the bank. USCG personnel arrived after the victims had initially been located and did, in fact, take them the rest of the way back to shore. When the last individual was removed from the area of refuge, rescuers found that the log jam had been washed away by the rising water.

The Oregon Fire Chiefs' Association awarded Lt. Roy Ellerbroek and FF Alex Burris the Distinguished Conduct Award for their professionalism and efficiency when faced with specific danger and adversity. Their actions are to be considered exceptional by their peers.The award was presented by OFCA President Ted Kunze.

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Unit Citation - Tillamook Fire District, Tillamook County Sheriff, the U.S. Coast Guard, and KOIN‏

On the stormy night of November 12, 2008, Tillamook Fire District received the call--South Prairie Road (where it crosses over Fawcett Creek) had caved in and was washed away. In the 100-foot wide raging river two vehicles were somewhere downstream, having plunged into the chasm. The vehicles were not visible from the washout. USCG assistance was requested.

The Swift Water team and Helo were dispatched to help with the rescue. Both vehicles were quickly spotted by firefighters. The first vehicle was underwater with a mother holding two infants sitting on top of the cab. Water was at her lower back and slowly rising. The second vehicle had become completely submerged, forcing the four occupants to vacate and climb onto an unstable log jam in the middle of the current.

The USCG Swift Water Rescue personnel in dry suits immediately began to assist the fire crew on scene bringing the four victims trapped on the log jam across rapidly rising waters. The water had risen from knee to chest level by the time the last victim was removed.Upstream, the second rapid rescue was also proceeding in a rather non-traditional way.

A 35' extension ladder was rigged with ropes to be raised and lowered against a tree branch directly above the woman and two infants on the roof of the submerged SUV. The ladder was used for access and ropes were lowered for rescuing the first infant. The mother secured the child as prompted and the first infant was raised and handed off to awaiting FF's for foot transport to EMS. The second infant was secured and again raised by ropes and handed down the ladder. The waters were continuing to rise and the mother was becoming hypothermic.

The ladder would not support the weight of rescuing the mother via ropes in the same manner as before and she was not strong enough to climb. This difficulty did not deter the rescuers. The ladder was quickly balanced in the center of the branch and turned into a "seesaw".With a FF balancing in the center, other firefighters and news media held onto a rope attached to the foot of the ladder up in the air.

This allowed the tip of the ladder to be lowered to where the woman could climb onto it. The ballast crew then used their weight to bring the ladder heel back down, pushing the woman on the tip up into the air above the water. She was then able to climb down to the awaiting firefighter, who assisted her the rest of the way down the ladder.Performing seamlessly, this group of responders worked as an exceptional team. Without hesitation, they did what was needed to save others' lives.

Working together as a unit, the group received the Unit Citation for their Life saving rescue.

The following members were presented the Unit Ciation by OFCA President Ted Kunze:
BC Brad Reiff
FF Alex Burris
Capt. Chuck Spittles
FF Kris Davis
Capt. Geoff Reiff
FF Chris Miller
Lt. Aaron Burris
FF Jack Mulder
Lt. Alan Christensen
FF Mike Perez
Lt. Roy Ellerbroek
FF Jimmy Reiff
Lt. Daryl Hamilton
FF Kyle Sheets
Lt. Jason Sterling
FF Philip Soots
FF Kyle Adams
Cadet Bradley Hamburger
Deputy Chuck Reeder
Deputy Billy Cloud
BMCM Michael Leavitt
BM1 Donald Lanham
BM1 Richard Bartel
MK3 Brian Daughtrey
SN Ross Ellis
KOIN News reporter Eric Taylor
KOIN News Videographer Matt Rashleigh
KOIN News Videographer Gabe Austin

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Unit Citation - Springfield Fire Life & Safety, Mohawk Valley Rural Fire District, and Life Flight‏

The Unit Citation may be given to two or more individuals, functioning as a group, who have worked together towards a common goal. The citation may be awarded for a specific performance of exceptional quality or for continued, professional performance and dedication to duty by the unit as a whole.

On June 18, 2008 a loaded dump truck lost its brakes and smashed head-on into a tree on McGowan Creek Road in a rural area known as Mohawk Valley, east of Springfield. The driver was pinned in a tiny area of the cab.

Crews from Mohawk Valley Rural Fire District responded and began initial assessment and rescue efforts. Springfield Life & Safety Heavy Rescue Unit and Paramedic ambulance transport were called for support.

It was determined that the driver of the dump truck had sustained multiple fractures but was not critically injured. Crews began dismantling the cab, carefully and safely extricating the driver after nearly two hours. Meanwhile, Life Fight was summoned to the scene. After initial stabilization, the Life Flight crew took over patient care and arrived at the hospital only nine minutes later.

Working together, these three agencies freed the patient and provided exceptional care.Mohawk Valley Rural Fire District, Springfield Life & Safety and the crew of Life Flight received the Unit Citation Award, presented by OFCA President Ted Kunze. The following members of the Springfield Fire Life & Safety, Mohawk Valley Rural Fire District, and Life Flight were recognized:
Captain John McDowell
Engineer Scott Price
FF Beau Johnson
FF Bryon Harvey
FF Barry Boettcher
Asst. Chief Bob Gorham
Asst.Chief Curtis Kindrick
BC Dennis Flanders
FF Katy Johnson
FF Nathan Biel
FF Ben Hall
FF David Hundley
FF Casey Lorenz
FF Craig Peterson
FF Rose Selko
FF Garrett Moore
FF Joe Headlee
FF Dan Wallace
Joanne Kitzul
EMT Brent Dalbec
Chris Boehm, Pilot

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Public Service Award - Roger Johnson - Douglas County Fire‏

The Public Service Award may be awarded to an individual or group who has unselfishly given to the fire service, above and beyond expected performance. This individual or group will have shown distinguished public service, promoting fire and life safety in the state of Oregon.

What better goal can a firefighter have than to have in place working smoke detectors in homes of high risk citizens, namely children and seniors? Rodger Johnson has developed and successfully implemented a Senior Community Outreach Prevention and Education program (SCOPE) in Douglas County, with this goal in mind.

About seven years ago, with the help of 100 community volunteers, Rodger assessed 5,000 homes in Sutherlin and found that approximately 30% of them did not have a working smoke detector. From those origins he began SCOPE. It is estimated that 1,300 homes a year are checked to ensure they have working smoke detectors through the SCOPE program.

It is a senior volunteer-based organization that has partnered with virtually every County agency with the wherewithal to enter homes of these high risk citizens. They provide smoke detectors and training on how and where to install them. The Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Meals on Wheels, fire departments and Child Protective Services are some of the agencies that have worked with Rodger and the SCOPE program.

Child Protective Services, which is typically viewed as a enforcement agency, appreciates being involved because they are able to extend a gesture of caring and support to their clientele through this program.

Another creative element embodied within this program is the relationship with the schools. SCOPE works with schools by providing individual teachers with smoke detectors. The teachers, in turn, have the detectors available during parent/teacher conferences. It is estimated that 25% of the parents leave with a detector and instructions for installation.This program is so successful that Rodger has found funding support from National and community grants, and continues to search for funding from other sources.

The Oregon Fire Chiefs' Association awarded Battalion Chief Rodger Johnson the Public Service Award for his leadership, dedication and great passion for preventing fires with the development of the SCOPE program. The award was presented by OFCA President Ted Kunze.

Oregon Meritorius Awards - Certificate of Commendation - Fire Chief Marty Nelson - Lane County Fire District #1‏

The Fire Chiefs' Toolbox series consists of stand-alone modules thateducate a new Fire Chief or Chief Officer in the performance of their duties as the administrator and/or leader of their fire department. The modules are four hours in length with support project assignments to complete, based on the Chief's own department's particular needs and circumstances.Developing and teaching these training modules requires instructors to log many miles and many hours. OFCA's Professional Development Committee has organized the most comprehensive, current, realistic, and valuable Chiefs' training in Oregon.Marty Nelson has dedicated himself to evolving the Toolbox into what it is today. As the Professional Development Committee Chair, he has spent many hours teaching and updating the series. The Oregon Fire Chiefs Association appreciates the efforts of Chief Marty Nelson and is proud to award him with a Certificate of Commendation.

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Certificate of Commendation - Bob Evans - Dallas Fire‏

Bob Evans joined the City of Dallas Fire Department in 1972 and recently retired after 36 years of dedicated service. Throughout his career he has served in a number of roles with the Department, including Firefighter, Engineer, Captain, Battalion Chief and Deputy Chief.

He has served as a leader of the organization, a mentor to its members, and an innovator in many techniques he designed and implemented himself which improved the efficiency of the fire service.Dallas, like many volunteer departments, has a number of dedicated volunteers. Bob Evans has faithfully served the community and department. His long term commitment embodies the values of the Oregon Fire Service, and for that he receives the Certificate of Commendation.

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Certificate of Commendation- Travis Lock - Dallas Fire‏

Firefighter Lock was on a flight rerouted from Portland to Texas on June 19, 2008 when a middle-aged woman a few rows in front of him was in need of medical attention. Travis identified himself to flight attendants and offered assistance. The passenger was suffering a stroke and he remained with her, providing emergency care with limited first aid supplies until the plane landed an hour-and-a-half later.Lock's quick actions are a credit to the fire service. For his professionalism and dedication to duty, the Oregon Fire Chiefs' Association presented the Certificate of Commendation.Award Presented by OFCA President Ted Kunze.

Oregon Meritorious Award - Silver Sparky - Tatum Sparks - St. Joseph School - Dr. Mari Pat Brooks‏

The Silver Sparky award is for outstanding achievement or contributions to the fire service in fire prevention or public fire education, for civilians. There are actually two recipients for this year's Silver Sparky.

As many if you know, just after the first of the year Oregon passed a statewide ban on the sale of novelty lighters. Although many people had a hand in the success of this legislation we know that some of the most compelling support and testimony can come from members of the public. And in this case it came from very young members of the public.

Back in May of 2008, a nine year-old girl joined a group of other children at the State Fire Marshal office to participate in a news story by KGW about the difficulty children have distinguishing novelty lighters from toys. The results surprised the children and shocked their parents.

Armed with this experience concerning dangerous lighters, this nine year-old girl took the initiative to educate her classmates, teacher, and school principal. Supported by her mother, this young lady spoke to anyone who would listen, about these toylike devices that could hurt kids. Her school principal was also stunned at the toylike items being sold as lighters and she encouraged the school's third grade class to get involved.

With the principal's support, the entire third-grade class wrote letters to legislators urging them to ban toylike lighters. Meanwhile, our young nine year-old, with her mother, and her principal at her side, testified in front of Oregon's Consumer Product Protection Committee.

When it came time, the schools entire third-grade class attended both the House and Senate votes in support of the novelty lighter bill. It is for both of these wonderful efforts and support that we recognize we congratulate Tatum Sparks, and her principal of St. Joseph School, Dr. Mari Pat Brooks. This award was presented by State Fire Marshal Randy Simpson.

Oregon Meritorious Awards - Golden Sparky -Jeff Fitzgerald - Rouge River Fire‏

The Golden Sparky is awarded for outstanding achievement in fire prevention or public fire safety education for fire service personnel. Throughout 2008, this firefighter from Southern Oregon took up the torch and spent a tremendous amount of his personal time and energy on the local and state level to promote the ban on novelty lighters. After a meeting with State Fire Marshal staff, this firefighter spent many hours, all unpaid, researching the subject of novelty lighters.

He gathered numerous examples of ordinances from around the country and made a successful presentation convince Rogue River city officials to ban the sale of novelty lighters. The city passed the ban on November 11th.

A short time later, this same firefighter spent more of his personal time and considerable effort to develop a comprehensive and compelling presentation for a statewide ban and delivered his presentation to the League of Oregon Cities. His careful research and effective presentation to officials at the League of Oregon Cities made a significant impact as they voted in support of a statewide ban.

Even though this firefighter does not work in fire prevention, his enthusiasm, effort, and dedication above and beyond the call of duty on behalf of the safety of Oregon children and their families is truly admirable. Rogue River Fire District's Firefighter Jeff Fitzgerald is this years Golden Sparky. Oregon State Fire Marshal Randy Simpson presented the award.


Special thanks to Troy Buzalsky with Canby Fire for assembling the content and images.

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instant cash loan June 30, 2009 4:26 pm (Pacific time)

I found very informative. The article is professionally written and I feel like the author knows the subject very well. keep it that way.

One who cares June 7, 2009 2:17 pm (Pacific time)

Wow, I'm surprised that nobody has left a comment on this story. Everyone seems to complain about the media never doing anything positive and when somebody does so, nobody reacts. Well I want to say on behalf of firefighters that this coverage is appreciated.

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