Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Department held the 1st Annual Fire & Rescue Awards and Recognition Ceremony at Patterson Park Community Center Monday evening. John Hood emceed the event which recognized over 30 employees for various accomplishments.

The ceremony began with recognizing the nine Fire Trainees who graduated from the Tennessee Fire and Codes Academy November 4 after attending the 10-week Fire Recruit Class. Gianni Bacchetti, Brenner Ballard, Robert Gingrow, Tiara Green, Thomas Gunnell, Kevin Madachik, Betsy Prusynski, James Ray, and Adam Ross received a department challenge coin, as they were praised for also obtaining their certifications in Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations and Firefighter I.

The next group to be recognized were the Firefighters who recently celebrated their one year anniversary with MFRD. At one year, each Firefighter receives his or her Firefighter badge and a new helmet. Jason Bonniger, Eric Compton, Cory Friend, Matt Tidwell, Betsy Welcome, and Brandon McCullough were presented with a department challenge coin. Firefighters Corian Barrett, Marcus Cartwright, Logan Gill, and Andrew Kindle were not present, but also achieved this accomplishment.

Firefighter Kevin Leonard was promoted to Engineer on October 13, 2016, but was officially pinned with his Engineer badge during the ceremony. His former Captain, the department’s Chaplain Lee Douglas, did the honors.

MFRD’s Firefighters of the Month were then acknowledged for “going above and beyond the duties of their job descriptions.” Firefighters of the Month are named for actions ranging from station projects and innovations to acts of kindness and off-duty life-saving efforts. From November 2015 to October 2016, the recipients were: Engineer David Simms, Firefighter Brent Stephens (not present), Assistant Chief Kaye Jernigan, Firefighter Matt Tidwell, Engineer Kenneth McFarland, Captain Tony Lehew, Firefighter Ryan Battle, Firefighter Melvin Holmes (not present), Firefighter Ben Honeycutt, Firefighter Jeff Clementi, Retired Captain Randy Jones (not present), Engineer Douglas Inglish, Captain Raymond Smith, Engineer Samuel Benford, Engineer Billy Sauls (not present), and Firefighter James Strader.

Lastly, two MFRD employees were presented the “Outstanding Service Award” for their off-duty life-saving efforts. Captain Robert Canterbury and Engineer Douglas Inglish received engraved axes for the honor as their stories were recounted by Hood.

Captain Robert Canterbury

Robert “Bobby” Canterbury had just pulled in the driveway, November 14, 2015, when he heard a terrible crash out in front of his house on HWY 269. He saw where an SUV came to a rest in front of a tree at the end of his driveway. He could see fire coming from the motor compartment and could tell that at least one person was pinned in that vehicle and another in the other vehicle. He immediately called 911 to report the accident and ask for help, but he also jumped into action. He and his family starting bringing buckets of water out to the car that was on fire trying to douse the flames. He knew he had to get the male driver out and he and another man tried to get the door off of the vehicle, but were unsuccessful. Bobby went to his shop, got his tractor and chains and went back to the vehicle. He hooked the chains to the door, snatched the door with the tractor a few times and got it off. They were able to get the man out to safety before the passenger side of the vehicle caught fire. The other vehicle was a young woman around 18. She was pinned as well and in and out of consciousness. Bobby assisted with patient care until EMS and the Fire Department came on scene. LifeFlight was eventually dispatched to take the young woman to Vanderbilt. Bobby was off duty, but his Firefighter instincts and quick thinking allowed him to assist citizens in need. This was a great reflection of his personal character and also the professionalism of the men and women of MFRD.

Engineer Douglas Inglish

On June 2nd, 2016, Engine 3 was dispatched to an unresponsive person, CPR in progress. Upon arrival, off-duty Engineer Doug Inglish, was administering basic life support. Doug maintained patient care and assisted Engine 3’s crew with AED use. The patient was turned over to Rutherford EMS for more advanced care and transport. After the dust settled and the crew delivered the patient to the emergency department, I asked Doug about his actions that led up to activating 911. He recounted by saying that he had just walked out on to his back deck when voices next door caught his attention. He noticed his neighbors trying to wake up the resident and it appeared that he was having a medical emergency. Upon recognition, Doug grabbed his “go bag” and headed next door. He directed family members to activate 911 while he started CPR.
Doug’s initial actions provided emergency crews with a viable patient. His early intervention lead to a successful save with the AED. The patient is a retired member of the Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue department and continues to do well today.
Doug is a humble man, who quietly does his job, but does it well. He never misses an opportunity to help where help is needed.

Retired Captain Larry Bratcher, the man whom Inglish saved, was in the audience to see him received the award.

“We are proud of the men and women who represent this department in such a professional, compassionate, and respectful manner,” said Fire Rescue Chief Mark Foulks. “The citizens and visitors to our community are very fortunate to have you as public servants.”