IAFC presentations include first “Chief of the Year” awards

IAFC presentations include first “Chief of the Year” awards

John M. Buckman, chief of the German Township (IN) Volunteer Fire Department and Fire Engineering advisory board member, and Chief Stephen D. Paulsell of the Boone County (MO) Fire Protection District (BCFPD) were among the recipients of awards presented at Fire-Rescue International. The event was sponsored by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and was held in August in Kansas City, Missouri.

Buckman, selected “The Volunteer Chief of the Year,” has been in the volunteer fire service for 30 years and has been chief of the German Township Fire Department for the past 18 years. He played a major leadership role in establishing and promoting the IAFC Volunteer Chief Officers Section, which he chairs, and serves on the IAFC Board of Directors. He was instrumental in developing the Leadership and Administration course in the National Fire Academy`s Volunteer Improvement Program and has lobbied actively for federal legislation that will benefit the volunteer fire service.

Paulsell, named “The Career Chief of the Year,” has been in the fire service for more than 25 years and has been chief of the BCFPD for the past 19 years. He chaired the Missouri Fire Service Alliance and the Missouri Emergency Response Commission and is a member of the IAFC Accreditation Executive Steering Committee and the curriculum committee of the National Fire Services Incident Management System Consortium. For the past 18 months, he and his department have been developing a consensus agreement, which is now near completion, with the City of Columbia, Missouri, for long-term services and expanded cooperative efforts between the two fire departments.

These Fire Chief Magazine Chief of the Year awards will be given annually. Nominees were selected by the magazine`s editor, publisher, and 10-member editorial advisory board.

Additional awards presented by the IAFC include the following:

The Benjamin Franklin Valor Award for dramatic water rescues (Motorola, cosponsor). Firefighters Donald Lopez and Dennis Rich, of the Santa Rosa (CA) Fire Department, were honored for saving two teenage girls who were swept from the swollen banks of the Matanzas Creek during the central California floods in February 1996. Santa Rosa Chief Tony Pini was given a departmental award.

Fire Service Award for Excellence (U.S. Safety and Engineering, cosponsor). The Boone County (MO) Fire Protection District was recognized for its “Survival Kids” program for fourth graders. The program establishes a bond between the youth community and the firefighters while teaching the children urban survival skills. Classes encompass basic fire safety and prevention, water safety, and firearms safety.

Other finalists in this category were the Alexandria (VA) Fire and Emergency Services Department; the Big Wheeling Creek (WV) Fire Department; the Columbus (GA) Fire Department; the Plano (TX) Fire Department; the Farmington (NM) Fire Department; and the Roseville (CA) Fire Department.

Harvey Grant Excellence in Rescue Award (Mosby and Holmatro, cosponsors). Instructor Ken Jones (who has since died) was selected on the basis of his longtime efforts in auto extrication training and “the incredible reputation he garnered while teaching at Provincial Fire College in Gravenhurst, Ont., Canada,” according to the IAFC.

The James O. Page EMS Achievement Award (Physio-Control, cosponsor). Chief Dennis Murphy of the Springfield (OR) Fire Department was recognized for his commitment and for serving as one of the founding members of the EMS Committee, which was the precursor to the EMS Section. He originated the FireMed ambulance membership program, the largest cooperating network of ambulance services in the nation. It covers 42,000 square miles and encompasses 1.1 million people in Oregon and California. The program offers career and volunteer services an effective way of funding services. He also originated the IAFC`s Rapid Zap defibrillation program.

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