Steve Repasy of the Midway Station was named the "2011 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 Repasy met all the department's criteria in earning this award. "Steve was nominated this year and his evaluation was of his fire calls, training attendance, and his community service. The fire calls and training attendance stand for itself. He excelled in both of those. As far as his community service, Steve has been very instrumental in helping us with our extrication program. He is a retired metal worker so he has been able to help us fabricate some of our equipment that we use on our extrication truck. He has been able to do some things that has saved us a lot of money with our extrication program where we didn't have to hire it done or we didn't have to buy the pieces of equipment that he actually fabricated. So he has helped us with that. Starting last January, many people may have noticed out in each community where we have a fire station, we have put fire station signs up in front of the fire halls. Along with some others who helped, Steve took a lead role in getting these signs erected and put up across the community. We now have the new signs put up. I want to add that we did get these signs on a grant. We now have all these signs up across the county. They're very nice signs and they are out by the roadway. It identifies where all of our fire stations are located. It also has a little message on there, if we have people who live in the community who would like to be a volunteer, it gives a contact number where they can call and offer their services if they want to be a volunteer to help in their communities. Steve has done all that and he has spent a lot of his personal time. These are things we look at which are above and beyond the normal training and fire response. These are things our firefighters do out in the community and we try to look at the firefighters who excel in those things each year in selecting these awards and for those reasons Steve Repasy was selected as our 2011 DeKalb County Fire Department Firefighter of the Year," said Chief Green.
Lieutenant Jay Cantrell, County Fire Department Equipment Officer, received the "Officer of the Year" award. Chief Green said the same three elements used to select the "Firefighter of the Year" are also used by the department in honoring the Officer of the Year, training attendance, incident response attendance, and community service. "Jay spends countless hours working on buildings, equipment, and vehicles to help keep our maintenance costs down. The most notable thing that Jay does is that he keeps all of our equipment maintained and proof of that is that during our inspections with our ISO evaluations this year, we were commended highly on the maintenance of our vehicles and the safety features that has been kept up on these things. So Jay has played a very instrumental part in our department and as a result of that it has benefitted the community greatly because, as everyone knows, we have the reduced ISO rating and a huge component of that evaluation in that survey with ISO was how the equipment and buildings are kept up. Jay played a major role in that and for that reason Jay was selected as the 2011 Officer of the Year," said Chief Green.
The "Rookie" award went to Rodger Sweet of the Main Station. Chief Green said this award is totally based on hours of training and goes to a firefighter in his first year of service to the department. "We feel like during the first year of a firefighter's membership, the most important thing they can do is train so that is the sole criteria that we use in the Rookie of the Year selection. For 2011 Rodger had 174 hours of training, which is a significant amount of training. Included in that 174 hours was the 64 hour basic firefighter school and also the 22 hour LIVE burn that is done at the fire academy. But outside of those two trainings he has done extra training to improve his fire fighting abilities. We certainly want to recognize that because Rodger has done a good job, as well as all these other guys that have come along this year. We define a rookie as any firefighter who has been on the department for a year or less. We pull all those training hours and then we determine who has the most training hours. Rodger had the most training hours for 2011," said Chief Green.
Twelve firefighters were recognized and presented pins for their years of service including the following:
Five years of service: Duncan Block (Austin Bottom Station), Ryan Carlile (Austin Bottom Station) Gelasio Chacon (Marco) (Johnson's Chapel Station), Larry Dalton (Austin Bottom Station), Cathy Jones (Austin Bottom Station), Bob Myracle (Austin Bottom Station), Wesley Slager(Liberty Station), and Paulino Solorzano (Liberty)
Ten years of service: Jason Rice of the Keltonburg Station
Fifteen years of service: Gene Foster of the Short Mountain Highway Station and Howard Pyles of the Liberty Station.
Twenty five years of service: Chief Donny Green
Several members of the department were also presented cash awards, funded through a federal safer grant, which Chief Green said is to help retain and recruit firefighters."In 2010, 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. Some of the things we've done is provide these training award incentives for firefighters such as length of service awards, firefighter of the year, rookie of the year, and for firefighters who made 100% of their monthly training or at least 75% of their monthly training. We've made those awards and we hope that's a tool we can use to help encourage our firefighters to stay on board and continue being involved with training in our department." Firefighters who made 100% of their monthly training each received $400 and those who made 75% of their monthly training took home $200 each.
Those receiving 100% Training Perfect Attendance Awards are as follows:
David Agee, Anthony Boyd, Jay Cantrell, Kelly Cantrell, Gelasio Chacon (Marco), Nelson Davis, Bill Fowler, Anthony Johnson, Bradley Johnson, Darrell Johnson, Donnie Johnson, Dustin Johnson, Jerry Wayne Johnson, Kristie Johnson, Gary King, Richard Kinsey, Michael D. Lawrence, Ronald Merriman, Roy Merriman, Bob Myracle, Jeremy Neal, Andy Pack, Shawn Puckett, Jeff Rankhorn, Steve Repasy, Jason Rice, Robin Summers, Rodger Sweet, Calvin Tramel, and Jeff Williams.
75% Training Attendance Awards:
Lee Ansell, Jacob Bond, Kyle Casper, Billy Crymes, Billy Fuson, Donny Green, Shane Hickman, Cathy Jones, Jimmy Martin, Kenny Maynard, Logan Maynard, Bradley Mullinax, Billy Parker, Danny Parker, James Pennington, Richard Roberts, Paulino Solorzano, Hunter Stanfield, Bradley Taylor, Hugh Washer, and Chris Wyke.