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Chief among chiefs
Peers honor Bowman for spirit, service
Bowman Wins 4 es
Forsyth County Fire Chief Danny Bowman, second from right, talks Thursday with Forsyth County Manager Doug Derrer, left, James McCoy, president and CEO of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, center, and Commissioner Jim Boff. - photo by Emily Furtsch
Forsyth County’s fire chief has made it to the top rung among his peers.

The Georgia Association of Fire Chiefs has named Danny D. Bowman the 2010 Georgia Fire Chief of the Year.

There are 662 fire departments in Georgia and about 30,000 firefighters.

According to the association, Bowman was chosen because of his professional accomplishments, compassion for his troops, genuine love of the job and willingness to put others before himself.

David Kimbrell, president of the association and fire chief in neighboring Hall County, said it was a personal honor to see Bowman selected for the award.

“Chief Bowman exudes the true spirit of service to others,” Kimbrell said.

Bowman said he was “honored and humbled” to accept the award on “behalf of the entire Forsyth County Fire Department.”

“Out of 662 equally deserving fire chiefs in Georgia, to be named fire chief of the year is certainly a career-high achievement,” he said.

However, Bowman said the award “isn’t a recognition of a fire chief only, but of the 152 troops under my command that make up this fine fire department.”

Bowman has served as Forsyth County’s fire chief since 2003.

His career as a firefighter began in 1968 with the Atlanta Fire Department. He eventually served as chief administrator, deputy fire chief, interim fire chief and battalion fire chief for the Fulton County Fire Department.

He was hired in 2001 by Forsyth County as a division fire chief and was promoted in 2002 to assistant fire chief and director of the local emergency management agency.

Bowman was nominated for the honor by County Commission Chairman Charles Laughinghouse and County Manager Doug Derrer.

Laughinghouse credited Bowman with fire insurance premium rate reductions, among other accomplishments.

“The nomination was limited to 300 words, but 300 words is not enough to describe Chief Bowman’s worth to this county,” Laughinghouse said.

“He is deserving of the 2010 Fire Chief of the Year recognition because the elected officials and administration of the county could seek no better leader of our fire department and emergency management agency than he.”

Derrer said the fire department is a professional organization, and its ability to provide outstanding service to residents is a reflection of Bowman’s strong leadership skills and dedication.

Jack McElfish, Sandy Springs’ fire chief, also nominated Bowman.

“Chief Bowman has all of the qualities that this prestigious award embodies,” McElfish said. “ He is honest, ethical and has strong leadership abilities. Throughout his 42-year fire service career, he has served as a mentor to literally hundreds of men and women, many of whom have gone on to successful careers as firefighters, company officers and chief officers.”

As chief, Bowman has overseen the department’s substantial growth and, according to the association, “aggressively replaced the entire front line fleet of fire apparatus and has replaced or added four new fire stations and a new fire headquarters at the county’s public safety complex.”

Also under his leadership, the department’s inaugural annual report was first printed and continues to draw national accolades.

Most recently, it received a superior award in the National Association of County Information Officers annual awards.