Instructor of the Year: Patrick J. Kenny

Chief Patrick J. Kenny of the Western Springs (IL) Fire Department is the recipient of the 2020-2021 Fire Engineering/International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI) George D. Post Instructor of the Year Award. The award was presented on Thursday during the Opening Ceremony at FDIC International 2021.

Patrick J. Kenny, center, with ISFSI President Peter Van Dorpe, left, and Fire Engineering Technical Editor Glenn Corbett, right. (Photos by Tony Greco.)

Kenny has been a member of the fire service for more than 37 years. His articles have been published in the areas of leadership, fire safety, mental health, and fire code challenges. He has been instructing for the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association as well as the Illinois Fire Service Institute since the mid-1980s and has been presenting his programs on mental health to audiences across the United States, Canada, and England since 1999.

In nominating him, Battalion Chief Tim Cassidy of the Mount Prospect (IL) Fire Department wrote: “My basis for this recommendation is the impact Chief Kenny has had in making firefighter behavioral health and psychological resiliency common topics of discussion in our firehouses. In our area, these topics as they relate to firefighting are no longer the taboo, stigma-labeled signals of weakness they may have been thought to be decades ago. He has led us miles ahead and we will never know how many ‘saves’ we can credit to his powerful message.”

Devon J. Wells, past president of the ISFSI: “Chief Kenny has had a significant impact on the awareness of behavioral health and resiliency. Through his dynamic, emotional, and heart-felt trainings, countless numbers of firefighters and public safety officials have become more aware of psychological stressors and their impact, not only on those we work with, but ourselves. He is the epitome of a humble, dedicated fire instructor changing lives through delivering training.”

The award, which incorporates the Training Achievement Award previously given by Fire Engineering at FDIC, is named for George D. Post, who was a long-time member of the ISFSI. Post was a member of the Fire Department of New York, an illustrator of fire service publications, and a developer of instructional materials and is considered by many to be the father of visual training material used to train fire service personnel around the world.

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