The Forsyth County Fire Department recognized some of its outstanding firefighters and personnel on Saturday, March 11 at Local Church Forsyth during its annual awards and promotions ceremony.
Division Chief Jason Shivers served as the master of ceremonies, welcoming a crowd of firefighters, families and individuals there to thank the men and women who have displayed their heroism on the job.
Before recognizing 25 personnel who have been promoted in the last year, Shivers invited up the winners of the year’s Life-Saved Awards, which are given to those who helped to save someone’s life in the face of a dangerous incident.
The first of the department’s firefighters to receive Life-Saved Awards were Lt. Lucas Henderson and Fire Apparatus Operators Josh Griffeth and Dustin Jurceka for their response to a patient, Gene Scriven, while he was suffering from cardiac arrest.
Shivers said when they arrived on scene, Gene’s wife, Tammie, was already performing CPR on her husband. But the team quickly took over life-saving measures, applying an AED, making IV access and placing him on a LUCAS CPR device.
“Upon arrival of our contact EMS service, Mr. Scriven was loaded into the ambulance and rapidly transported to Northside Hospital Forsyth where he made a full recovery and was ultimately released,” Shivers said.
Gene and Tammie came up to the stage to present the award to Battalion Chief Todd Sliger who accepted it on behalf of the team of firefighters. The department also presented Tammie with her own Civilian Life-Saved Award for performing CPR on her husband before first responders arrived.
More than 14 others received a Life-Saved Award for their work in similar incidents, immediately taking measures to save a patient’s life.
Kristen Allen, who was saved from a tragic car accident last Christmas Eve that claimed her husband’s life and left her in critical condition, spoke to the crowd and tried to explain just how thankful she is to the department and each of the firefighters awarded, especially those at stations 10 and 15 who helped her.
“I don’t remember much of the accident itself, but after seeing the condition of the vehicle, I can comfortably say I am here today because of your teams,” Allen said. “The strength, agility and perseverance you all showed on that day gave me a second chance of life. You can’t wrap that up in a box and hand over a gift like that. I truly appreciate every single day from here on in honor of my husband. Thank you.”
The department also honored personnel members with Unit Citation Awards, given to those involved in incidents “that result in decisive and extraordinary efforts by a company,” Shivers said.
Some of the first to receive this award during the ceremony were all those involved in working through the tragic accident involving an ambulance on Canton Highway in November in which EMT Gina Ayers died.
“Every member on that scene knew Gina very well,” Shivers said.
But they were still able to push on, treating her and the other patient before a med-evac helicopter and ambulance were able to arrive on scene. For this, 15 members of the teams there that day received an award.
Another 11 personnel also received the award for their efforts working together to help others during the past year.
The department then recognized its Community Risk Reduction and Public Education team that recently won the Don Hendricks Award at this year’s Celebration of Excellence on Thursday, March 9, for their work in the school system providing training to nurses, establishing the Healthcare and First Responders pathway at Alliance Academy for Innovation and teaching fire safety to elementary students.
The team includes Erin Long, firefighters Jeff Lyons, Michele Cranford and Kevin Lindsey along with Rick Hamilton, Scott Kennedy and the department’s favorite labradoodle, Hallie.
Shivers announced the day of the ceremony also happened to mark Hallie’s third birthday, drawing cheers from the crowd before they moved on to announcing the 25 personnel promoted in the department in the last year.
Those promoted include:
● Battalion Chief Randall Todd Sliger
● Captain Jeremiah Anderson
● Captain Shane Lively
● Lieutenant Drew Allingham
● Lieutenant Howie Barrett
● Lieutenant Johnny Capps
● Lieutenant Michael Cody
● Lieutenant Clark Coleman
● Lieutenant Anthony DiMercurio
● Lieutenant Matthew Johnson
● Lieutenant Justin Rogers
● Lieutenant Miguel Salazar
● Lieutenant Marlin Thompson
● Fire Apparatus Operator Jonathan Arendt
● Fire Apparatus Operator Joseph Clark
● Fire Apparatus Operator Dan Clausen
● Fire Apparatus Operator Alex Goebel
● Fire Apparatus Operator Donald Holtfreter
● Fire Apparatus Operator Kyle Horton
● Fire Apparatus Operator Bobby Hughes
● Fire Apparatus Operator Dustin Jurceka
● Fire Apparatus Operator Nick Kitchen
● Fire Apparatus Operator Tony Monk
● Senior Fire Inspector Chantz Adams
● Senior Fire Prevention Training Officer Erin Long
As is tradition, each of the personnel came up on stage with their families who took off their old badges and pinned on new ones to represent their new rank.
“It is always a special honor to recognize our personnel who have reached levels of achievement in their career,” Fire Chief Barry Head said. “I am proud to work beside all of the men and women that serve in the Forsyth County Fire Department. Their service and dedication have my highest appreciation.”