Murfreesboro Fire Rescue Department hosted its Second Annual Fire Awards and Recognition Ceremony December 11 at Patterson Park Community Center.
The ceremony, which honored MFRD employees, community members, and citizens, also paid tribute to deceased members of the department.
The night began by recognizing the three Fire Trainees that recently graduated from the Tennessee Fire and Codes Academy and the Firefighters who celebrated their one year anniversary with MFRD in 2017.
Five personnel were pinned by their family members or other designee for promotions they received during the year. Stephen Ellison, Jeremy Morris, Jon Parsons, and Lance Sutton were promoted to Engineer and Chris Mikolon was promoted to Captain.
MFRD’s Firefighters of the Month were then acknowledged for “going above and beyond the duties of their job descriptions.” From November 2016-July 2017, the recipients were Firefighter Davis Sanders, Chaplain/Captain Lee Douglas, Captain Tony Lehew, Engineer Alvin Brandon, Engineer Chad Davis, Firefighter Ben Honeycutt, Firefighter Ryan Battle, Firefighter Sam Bennett, Captain Nora Smith, Engineer John Flynt, Engineer Chase Martin, Firefighter Joshua Jackson, Firefighter Leon Isaac, Firefighter Jeff Clementi, Firefighter Beau Doss, Engineer David Simms, Engineer Chad Davis (again), Firefighter James Ray, and Firefighter Adam Ross. Lehew, Brandon, Davis, Honeycutt, Battle, and Bennett also received Life-Saving Commendation pins for their Class A uniforms. At the end of 2016, this crew was responsible for making a difference in the lives of two families two shifts in a row.
Life Saving Awards were given to two crews responsible for saving the lives of two patients who suffered multiple injuries in motor vehicle accidents. The first crew (Captain Jamie Bigelow, Firefighter Greg Burt, Firefighter Alvarez Constant, Firefighter Tiara Green, Captain Jason Hayes, Engineer Lionel Holladay, Firefighter Dustin Hopper, Firefighter Alan Jakes, Engineer Jeremy McCullough, Firefighter Ray Robinson, Engineer Lance Sutton, Firefighter Benjamin Thorpe, and Engineer Eugene Todd) responded to a motor vehicle accident January 4th where six-year-old Camden Collins was the only survivor. Doctor’s told Camden’s grandmother, now legal guardian, that first responders removing him from the vehicle in a professional and skillful manner and keeping him stabilized kept him from fatal injury or paralysis. The second crew (Captain Mike Adams, Engineer Chris Ayers, Firefighter David Branch, Engineer Richard Crick, Engineer Stephen Ellison, Engineer Kevin Leonard, Firefighter Duane O’Donnell, Engineer David Simms, and Firefighter Shandreah Womack) responded to an accident involving Murfreesboro Police Officer Matt Stern on July 31st. With special thanks to the crew, Stern (who sustained several serious injuries and underwent multiple surgeries) is now well on his way to making a full recovery.
Several groups and members of the community were also honored for various reasons. The Christy-Houston Foundation, Inc. and Stones River Woodworker’s Club received “Community Partner” awards. The plaque for the Christy-Houston Foundation read, “with sincere gratitude for your partnership with Murfreesboro Fire Rescue in support of our continuing efforts to provide life safety to our community.” Stones River Woodworker’s Club’s read, “for your contribution to Murfreesboro Fire Rescue’s efforts to preserve the heritage of our department for the benefit of the community.”
New Vision Baptist Church and the Murfreesboro Muslim Youth were recognized for their contributions to the community in support of public safety during preparations for the rally on the square in October. They each received “Community Service Awards.”
Two citizens received plaques for their “selfless and brave actions which contributed to the health and safety of the members of [their] community.”
Josh Picklesimer, a student teacher at Siegel Middle School, assisted a student with an airway obstruction by performing the Heimlich Manuever. Coincidently, the young girl was choking on a pickle! When MFRD arrived on scene, she showed signs of distress, but had no trouble breathing or speaking. Josh learned the life-saving skill as a seventh grader at Siegel Middle.
Amy Nolen, an employee of Consolidated Utility District, was driving with coworkers on Warrior Drive returning to Consolidated Utility District from lunch. A Riverdale High School student suddenly pulled out of the parking lot and into the path of a fully loaded dump truck which happened to be a couple of vehicles in front of Amy. With a thundering crash, both vehicles went airborne, twisting and crashing into the deep ditch on the road’s edge. Amy immediately pulled her vehicle to the side of the road and ran to the crash site. The student’s car landed upright and Amy was able to pull her out and to a safe distance from the incident. Fortunately, there were no others in the vehicle. The dump truck landed on the driver’s side. Fluid was leaking from the truck. The windshield was partially broken and the driver appeared unconscious. Fearful the truck might catch fire, Amy started kicking in the windshield. She noticed a shovel just inside the cab, grabbed it, and began busting out the windshield to free the driver who was conscious, but dazed. When the windshield finally gave way, Amy helped the driver release his seatbelt and started pulling him from the truck. First responders arrived on site and took over. Amazingly, there was very little injury to either driver.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, five members of the department who passed away in 2017 were remembered by friends, family, and co-workers. Captain Thomas Adams, Captain Larry Bratcher, Supply Clerk Roy Fugate, Assistant Chief Frank Joyce, and Engineer Tommy Underwood all had a single rose placed in their honor on a set of turnout gear as the Honor Guard rang the bell to signify their “last alarm.”