South County Fire celebrated its first anniversary as a regional fire authority last week with a recognition ceremony honoring employees, volunteers and citizens:
Volunteers of the Year: Larry and Carol Foote. The Footes have been volunteering for more than seven years and have logged nearly 1,000 hours of service as they drive interdepartmental mail and supplies between South County Fire’s 14 fire stations and headquarters.
Community Service Award: Senior Firefighter Melissa Beard. Beard has dedicated countless hours to support the Washington State Council of Firefighters Burn Foundation, visiting children at the Harborview Burn Center and volunteering at the foundation’s summer camp. Beard also gives her time to shop, wrap and deliver holiday gifts to local school children in need.
Special Unit Citation: Captain Mike Read, Senior Firefighter Gary Westerman and Firefighter/Paramedic Joe Simmons. This crew at Mountlake Terrace Fire Station 19 was honored for their extraordinary response to a 911 call in April that quickly escalated from a single-engine response for smoke in the area to a full residential fire with a fatality. The crew did an excellent job identifying and adjusting tactics as the response unfolded.
Special Unit Citation: South County Fire Honor Guard. The Honor Guard includes Commanders Mike Read and Travis Winston and members Brent Allen, Brad Cheek, Terri Fitzgerald, Steve Francis, Steve Mason, Scott McCaul, Jesse McCormick, Dave Ruddell, Keith Sharp, Matt Stiefel, Derek Talley and Todd Wigal. The South County Fire Honor Guard was recognized for dedication to the community, the fire department and its fallen firefighters. Each member makes significant personal and financial sacrifice to honor their fire service family. In this past year, they posted colors at special events including a tribute to fallen firefighter Duffy Burns. The Honor Guard recently traveled to Colorado Springs where the names of two South County firefighters were added to the the International Association of Fire Fighters Fallen Firefighter Memorial.
Meritorious Service Award: Firefighter/Paramedic Vince Schweitzer. This award recognizes faithful and valuable service of an entire career. Schweitzer has mentored and taught countless paramedics. He started his career in 1979 with the launch of the Medic 7 Regional Advanced Life Support Program. He led a team of health care providers credited with the first recorded out-of-hospital cardiac arrest save in Snohomish County. As a pioneer in the county’s medic service he created forms, documents, devices and techniques that became area industry standards and live on as his legacy for paramedicine in this region.
Distinguished Service Award: Senior Firefighter Corey Palmer. This award is presented for professionalism in the face of adversity or danger. Palmer showed bravery and dedication to protecting the community and his coworkers when he acted quickly to contain an agitated patient who took a swing at a fellow firefighter during a 911 response. The patient also took a swing at Palmer and became increasingly verbally abusive. Law enforcement officers arrived in time to witness the attack by the patient, who was charged with three counts of felony assault.
Lifesaving Award (Fire Service): Senior Firefighter Nate Crawford. Crawford was off-duty and playing in a charity basketball tournament when a man collapsed at the other end of the court. The man wasn’t breathing and had no pulse. Crawford went to his aid and provided CPR with assistance from others. Shortly after firefighters arrived, the man’s pulse returned and he started to breath.
Lifesaving Award (Civilian): Don Hunsley and Nicole Love. Hunsley and Love provided CPR when Nicole Love’s dad, Doug Love, collapsed in July. Their quick and early intervention played a key role in Doug Love’s survival.Employee of the Year (Civilian): Amanda Thompson. Thompson was recognized for her exemplary work on complex and often last-minute projects. She ensures ceremonies are planned, coordinated and implemented to the highest standards. Her work helps RFA employees and its extended families to mourn, celebrate and show respect for each other.
Employee of the Year (Suppression): Medical Services Officer Josh Stadler. Stadler developed, implemented and coordinated the emergency medical services training program for newly hired paramedics. He is committed to helping each paramedic succeed and uphold the department’s high standards.
Chief’s Award: Human Resource’s Director Sandra Hollenbeck. Hollenbeck was selected by Fire Chief Bruce A. Stedman to receive this award for her outstanding work over the past year. As a valued member of South County Fire’s leadership team, she has provided guidance and worked through labor relations, policy development and other human resources issues associated with establishing South County Fire as a new regional fire authority. Her professionalism has earned her the respect of employees at all levels within the organization.
South County Fire is the largest provider of fire and emergency medical services in Snohomish County, serving nearly 250,000 residents in unincorporated communities and the cities of Brier, Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace.