Xenia Fire Division recently held its first annual Firefighter Awards ceremony, handing out awards such as the Fire Chief’s Meritorious Award, the Roger Pacholka Award for a lifesaving act, and Firefighter of the Year.
Fire Chief Kenneth Riggsby said the idea of holding an awards ceremony has been presented in the past, but firefighters were hesitant. “Our firefighters/paramedics consider what they do each day as just part of their jobs, but oftentimes these men and women go above and beyond the call of duty. We think it’s very important to recognize what they do for our community each day.”
The Division had planned a banquet to be held in October, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was canceled. Chief Riggsby and other XFD leadership decided to move forward with the ceremony and instead held it inside the training room at Fire Station 1. Each shift was recognized individually and each ceremony was visible to the entire Division via Zoom. “It would be great if we had everybody here and were able to celebrate with everybody, but we will do that next year,” said Chief Riggsby.
The following are the recipients of this year’s awards:
Fire Chief’s Meritorious Award – This year’s recipients of the Fire Chief’s Meritorious Award are Firefighter Gary Fannin and Captain Jeff Bruggeman. FF Fannin and Capt. Bruggeman designed and constructed a homemade gear dryer. Commercial gear dryers retail for between $7,000 and $12,000, and FF Fannin and Capt. Bruggeman constructed a dryer for the Division for around $1,000. The Chief’s Meritorious Award is given at the sole discretion of the Chief to members of the Division who perform beyond those expectations of a person, group, or company.
Roger Pacholka Award – This award is named after Dr. Roger W. Pacholka, M.D., an Emergency Medicine Specialist at Miami Valley Hospital and Clinical Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at his alma mater, Wright State University, who served as the Division’s Medical Director for 12 years. A Medical Director is a critical liaison between a local EMS agency and hospital administration and medical staff who is responsible for the provision of training, continuing education, and quality assurance programs for the local EMS agency to maintain contemporary patient care measures. The award is given to members of the Division who are principally involved in saving the life of another person by their lifesaving act. This year’s Roger Pacholka Award was presented to Firefighter Tyler Bundy for performing a surgical cricothyrotomy on the scene of a critical trauma patient.
Unit Citation – Unit citations are given to the entire crew for unified credible acts in the line of duty that are commendable in nature and display admirable initiative and accomplishment. This year several unit citations were given to deserving crews including the following:
- Firefighters Adam Coblentz, Josh Rothenberger, and Matt Staley for responding to a female patient in cardiac arrest who was pregnant. The crew bypassed a closer hospital in order to transport the mother to a hospital with an advanced neonatal care unit where an emergency C-section was performed. Both the child and the mother were resuscitated.
- Captain Tom Norris, Lieutenant Cory Stroup, and Firefighters Derek Dennehy, Mike Senter, Brandon Strunk, and Brandon Davis for responding to a rollover crash with heavy damage, some 200 feet off the road. One of the two occupants was trapped in the car with severe injuries. The crew had to utilize advanced skills and equipment to remove the occupant from the car and traverse the terrain to the awaiting ambulance. The patient was extricated and transported to the trauma center within 13 minutes of arriving on scene.
- Lieutenant Mike Bogan, and Firefighters Mike Senter, Matt Staley, Ben Boedeker, Cameron Stegall, Anson Smith, and Travis Dill for administering care to twin babies seconds after their birth. The newborns were premature and required advanced life support to survive. The mother had seizure-like activity during the delivery and also required advanced care. The crew treated and transported all three patients to an appropriate hospital capable of caring for all three of them at the same location, so as not to separate the babies from their mother. All three recovered.
Firefighter of the Year – The Firefighter of the Year Award is given to a firefighter who stands out from his/her peers due to performance, participation in extra-curricular activities, community service, and other exemplary service. The Firefighter of the Year for 2020 is M. Nate Todd. Firefighter Todd received the award for exemplifying his commitment to public service through his active participation on several committees and teams; he represents the Xenia Fire Division on the Region 3 Task Force, Ohio Task Force 1, and Greene County Regional SWAT team; and he was the field training officer for three consecutive recruits over a 36-month period.
Outstanding Public Service Award – The Outstanding Public Service Award is given to a member who serves the community outside of the Fire Division. This year’s award was given to Lieutenant Travis Dill for his service on the board for the YMCA.
Professional Development Award – The Professional Development Award is given to the firefighter who acquires the most training hours with the exception of basic certification hours. Lieutenant Cory Stroup acquired more hours than any other member this year with 249 hours of additional training. Lieutenant Stroup was followed closely by Firefighter Conner Reichert with 223.25 hours, Lieutenant Travis Dill with 185 hours, Firefighter Scott Burrows with 137.5 hours, and Firefighter Levi Dalton with 136 hours of training this year.
- 1 Year – Firefighters Cameron Jackson, Tyler Castle, Chris Kline, Justin Cason
- 5 Years – Firefighters Kurtis Triplett and Gary Fannin, and Fire Inspector Mike Blakesly
- 25 Years – Lieutenant Doug Brown
- 28 Years – Captain Jeff Bruggeman
- 29 Years – Captain Brian Brennaman
- 37 Years – Chief Ken Riggsby