The Boynton Beach (FL) Fire Rescue Department held its annual awards ceremony to mark the 2007 achievements of many of its own personnel and a few other unselfish heroes who went above-and-beyond to help others over the course of the year. The highlight of the night was Fire Chief William Bingham’s tightly-held secret announcement and presentation of the 2007 Employee of the Year. The high honor went to Captain Ed Herrmann for his numerous contributions to his own department as well as numerous other departments in the area of Special Operations. Captain Herrmann is also an esteemed member of the Boynton Beach Police SWAT-Medic Team. Chief Bingham added, “Capt. Ed Herrmann is a major force in this department and he is showing no tendency or signs of slowing down. He is a man of action and an out-of-the-box thinker. He is a firefighter’s firefighter and an officer’s officer. Most importantly, he represents this department and this City with pride, determination and professionalism.” Additionally, Captain Herrmann was also awarded Employee of the Month for June in recognition of his visionary development of a chart system designed to provide Incident Command with the ability to calculate the time that each individual firefighter on scene can survive on self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) under various fire ground conditions. Finally, Herrmann was awarded a Unit Citation for his part in the unified command of a violent and fiery standoff with a fugitive who had barricaded himself inside a citizen’s apartment setting numerous fires while holding police and fire rescue crews at bay for more than four hours.
Firefighter/paramedic Jose Pan of Hallandale Beach (FL) Fire Rescue (another South Florida city almost an hour south of Boynton Beach) was accompanied by family and his own Chief Sullivan to receive a special Uniform Citation for his heroic efforts to save the life of a three-year old boy whom he came upon following a deadly accident on I-95. Firefighter Pan stopped in the early morning hours of October 29, 2007 to render aid to the boy until Boynton Beach paramedics arrived. Chief Bingham recognized Pan saying, “While the child unfortunately succumbed to his injuries [the following] evening, the immediate response from Firefighter/paramedic Pan ensured that all available life-saving procedures were afforded to him, providing his best possible chance of survival. I want to acknowledge Firefighter/paramedic Pan as a fine representative of the Hallandale Beach Fire Rescue Department and as a dedicated professional in the best tradition of the fire service.”
Named and recognized earlier in 2007, Boynton Beach Paramedic of the Year honors went to Firefighter 2 Matt MacRae. MacRae was nominated for the award by Lt. Mike Temperilli for his consistency in his approach to his duties and to being a role model and trainer to new, less-experienced personnel whom he has and continues to assist in their efforts to become certified paramedics. In his recommendation, Lt. Temperilli noted the many letters of recognition and thanks from citizens in reference to medical calls on which MacRae has been involved, his genuine concern for his patients and his professional demeanor with everyone involved on each call, including his co-workers, patients’ families, and hospital staff.
The year’s Fire Chief’s Values Awards was presented to Captain Mark Henkle in recognition of his commitment to upholding a specific set of established values set forth by the City of Boynton Beach, those of Diversity, Integrity, Stewardship and Creativity. Bingham shared, “In my opinion, Capt. Henkle is the epitome of a high-performing and value- driven employee. His work ethic is beyond reproach and his degree of honesty and integrity cannot be questioned. Obviously, the most important thing in Capt. Henkle’s life is his family and his children will definitely benefit from the degree of respect and integrity that he shares with them.” In addition to receiving the Chief’s Values Award, Henkle was recognized as the Employee of the Month for October after receiving three separate letters of thanks and recognition for “giving freely of his time to willingly serve as a mentor to those participating in both the Lieutenants and Captains [promotional processes],” and for his “unselfishness and dedication to his co-workers.” Captain Henkle is also a recognized and valued leader of both the department’s Special Operations Team and the Special Operations Dive Rescue Unit.
Of note, celebrating his last awards ceremony as an active member of the department before retiring to “the drop” in September of 2008 after more than 25 years in the fire rescue service, Deputy Chief of Administration Jim Ness was awarded the Employee of the Month for December. Chief Ness was recognized for his tenacious efforts to secure a $1.72 million FEMA Hazard Mitigation Program Grant ear-marked to harden the department’s new Station #5 to the Category 5 Hurricane Standard. Both Fire Chief and friend, Bingham clearly wanted to thank Ness for his service, stating, “From my vantage point, words cannot express the extent of the void that will be created when Jim retires. Although he has specific responsibilities that he performs in an exemplary manner, after 25 years on the job and many of those in the office, he has casually assumed the responsibility for projects and issues outside of his domain, but very important to the organization nonetheless. When this phase of his life ends, I wish him a happy, healthy, long and safe retirement.” Immediately following the ceremony, all uniformed personnel present gathered around a grateful DC Ness for one final group photo. Congratulations, Chief, on a long and dedicated career serving others–especially all of us, your friends and family here at Boynton Beach Fire Rescue!