The 2016 DeKalb County Volunteer Firefighter of the Year is Jerry Wayne Johnson, Station Commander of the Liberty Station.
Johnson 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 2016 Officer of the Year and Steve Repasy, Station Commander of the Johnsons Chapel Station, received the Department’s 2016 “Git R Done" award. The "Rookie" award went to Firefighter Andrew Cox of the Belk Station.
Johnson was nominated and received the Firefighter of the Year Award taking into consideration his fire call response, training attendance, and community service participation. Assistant Chief Anthony Boyd, who presented the award, said Johnson has excelled in all considerations used to evaluate the worthiness of earning this award. "The fire calls and training attendance stand for themselves. He excelled in both of those areas as he is among the very top of our membership when considering percentage of response and participation in fire calls and training events. As for his community service, Jerry Wayne has demonstrated outstanding community service by doing an excellent job leading his station in community involvement events. Each year he leads his station’s firefighters in hosting a community Halloween Party at the Liberty Station where they provide free refreshments and fire safety materials to the public. He is also very active in participating in fire prevention and safety activities at DeKalb County West School. Jerry Wayne has been a point of contact and an advocate in his community for the free smoke alarm installation program. He also unselfishly volunteers his time to send flowers and other gifts to members and their immediate family members affected by death, illness, or other life events,” said Assistant Chief Boyd.
“The DeKalb County Fire Department attempts to recognize firefighters who reflect a positive image of commitment and sacrifice to the department and our communities and there’s absolutely no doubt that Jerry Wayne has earned the honor of being named DeKalb County Fire Department’s 2016 “Firefighter of the Year”, he added.
Lieutenant Williams earned the "Officer of the Year Award" for his achievements in training attendance, incident response, and community service. " Lieutenant Williams has made, and continues to make a tremendous impact on improving fire safety in DeKalb County. As a leader of the Fire Prevention/Safety Program in our department, he has installed 1,587 smoke alarms in DeKalb County since July 22, 2013. In 2016, he installed 408 smoke alarms all across DeKalb County. He has done this sacrificing his personal time and use of his vehicle. Because of his work in this area, DeKalb County has been recognized by the Tennessee Fire Marshal's Office for being in the top 10 departments in the state for smoke alarm installations. Bailey Scott, Community Risk Reduction Coordinator for the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, recently made the following statement, “I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award than Brian. He has been an example, not only in DeKalb County, but across Tennessee. It is people like Brian who have helped save over 170 lives since 2012.” While visiting hundreds of homes, Lieutenant Williams has been the face of the DeKalb County Fire Department and he has built invaluable relationships, trust, and awareness that benefits our whole county. Because of his commitment, citizens in DeKalb County can feel more secure and safe in their homes,” said County Fire Chief Donny Green, who presented the award.
The "Git R Done Award" goes to a firefighter who demonstrates exceptional sacrifices by going above and beyond responding to calls and attending training. “Station Commander Repasy continuously makes himself available for anything this department asks of him. He sacrifices his time to run errands for our officers and is always available and willing to use his mechanical skills to repair and construct whatever we need. He is always at trainings and calls and still does all these extra things that makes our department better prepared to serve and respond. In addition, he is very active in the Smithville Lions Club and the local Red Cross chapter where he frequently donates his time and services to assist victims of disasters. He never hesitates to volunteer and jump in and do whatever we ask. Steve is the model of a "Git-R-Done" firefighter,” said Captain Jay Cantrell. Who presented the award. “Steve’s commitment to sacrifice of his personal time, both in our department in the community, while leading with a positive “Git R Done” attitude, clearly shows why he is being recognized as our 2016 recipient of this award,” he said.
Firefighter Andrew Cox was presented the "Rookie of the Year Award" based exclusively on his hours of training. This award goes to a firefighter who completed his/her basic recruit training during 2016. 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," said Lieutenant/Training Officer Brian Williams, who presented the award. " From January 2016 through December 2016, Andrew had 271.21 hours of training, including completion of the 64 hour Basic Firefighter Training. In addition to his Basic Recruit training, he has completed a long list of extra training courses to improve his firefighting skills. 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 contributed to our department being recognized with elite training awards for 8 consecutive years. We are proud of all of them and we are honored to name Firefighter Andrew Cox as our “Rookie of the Year” for 2016,” said Lieutenant Williams.
Captain Michael D. Lawrence recognized and presented the following 7 members with pins for length of service awards:
*5 years of service: Dustin Johnson (Main Station), Kristie Johnson (Station Commander of the Main Station), and Lieutenant Brian Williams
*10 years of service: Bob Myracle (Station Commander of the Austin Bottoms Station) and Gelasio Chacon (Johnsons Chapel Station)
*20 years of service:Gene Foster (Auxiliary Member, Short Mountain Hwy. Station)
*30 years of service:Chief Donny Green
Honorary Lifetime Member Jeff Williams presented Assistant Chief Anthony Boyd an Honorary Lifetime Membership award. Boyd has been a member for 18 years. “He has provided significant contributions to the administrative functions of our department, fundraising activities, building renovation and construction projects and has worked behind the scenes for many years. We like to recognize people who have made significant and long-lasting contributions to our department and Anthony has absolutely done this,” said Williams.
Chief Green also officially announced officer promotions. Captain Anthony Boyd was nominated by the membership and confirmed by the County Mayor and County Commission to be promoted to Assistant Chief of the Department. Lieutenant Brian Williams has been promoted to the rank of Captain, and Firefighter Dustin Johnson has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. Chief Green commended the department’s leadership in setting the pace and example to challenge all members to excel in their service.
Partners who have provided special support to the department during the year were recognized including Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, DeKalb Tire and Service, DeKalb Telephone Cooperative (DTC), the local Red Cross representatives, WJLE Radio Station, the Smithville Review Newspaper, the Tennessee Division of Forestry, DeKalb Market, many community volunteers who help work in the Jamboree Food Booth and other fundraisers, Mayor Tim Stribling and his office staff, and the DeKalb County Commission. “Our department is recognized widely for our commitment and performance and I will credit that to the willingness of our volunteers to understand their commitment on a professional level, the support of our community partners, and the support of our County Mayor and County Commission,” said Chief Green.
The evening began with a delicious meal and entertainment from EmiSunshine, a 12-year old East Tennessee prodigy who has captured the nation’s attention as a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. She has performed on the Grand Ole Opry, the Today Show and has been compared to the likes of Taylor Swift, mixed with a little bit of Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss, or members of the Carter family.
Approximately 175 people were in attendance at the Awards Banquet, including firefighters, their families, local and state officials, and community partners. County Fire Chief Donny Green presided over the evening’s program.