The Fire Service Awards are coordinated through the State Fire Marshal's Office annually and are sponsored by the following fire-service related organizations: the Fire Training Director’s Association, the Florida State Firefighters Association, the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association, the Florida Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association, the Florida Professional Firefighters Association, the Emergency Preparedness Association and the Florida Forest Service.
Each honoree receives an individual resolution signed by the Governor and members of the Cabinet at Monday evening's Fire Service Awards ceremony. The honorees are also recognized jointly at the Cabinet meeting at the Capitol.
“These heroic men and women consistently rise to the challenge of helping their communities and have shown an unwavering commitment to saving lives,” said CFO Atwater. “Every day they risk their lives to help others, and I am eternally grateful for their service.”
Professional Fire Firefighter of the Year:
Lieutenant Rusty Roberts, Tallahassee Fire Department
During his 25 year career, Lieutenant Roberts has fought wildfires, served as a HAZMAT and live fire instructor and dedicated much of his time to developing programs to assist burn victims.
Fire Investigator of the Year:
Detective David O’Dell, Florida State Fire Marshal
Detective O’Dell’s 23 years of law enforcement experience and steadfast dedication make him an essential asset to the Division of the State Fire Marshal. He was recently recognized as the Law Enforcement Investigator of the Year for his outstanding efforts in solving a murder and arson case.
Fire Inspector of the Year:
Inspector David Adams, Orange County Fire Rescue Department
During his ten years of service, Inspector Adams has demonstrated an unwavering devotion to his work by going above and beyond his required duties and exhibiting an excellent work ethic. Recently, he filled in as an Interim Supervisor in a moment of critical need.
Fire Chief of the Year:
Fire Chief Kingman Schuldt, Golden Gate Fire Control and Rescue Districts
During a critical time for the department, Chief Schuldt’s leadership allowed him to stabilize expenditures and build up necessary financial reserves allowing his department to remain operational.
Fire Marshal of the Year:
Mike Rodde, City of Seminole Fire Rescue
Fire Marshal Rodde’s dedication to the field of educating others on fire safety helped him become Seminole’s Fire Marshal. As Fire Marshal, he constantly seeks new and innovative ways to provide realistic training for his department to improve their skills and fire investigation efforts.
Career Firefighter of the Year:
Firefighter and Paramedic Manny Morales, East Naples Fire Control and Rescue District
Mr. Morales was given this award for an incredible act of valor and selflessness. While off-duty, Morales witnessed a vehicle drive off the road into a swampy, alligator infested area. Without regard for his own safety, he jumped into the swamp and saved the life of the young teen driver.
Forestry Firefighter of the Year:
Senior Forest Ranger Jim Avery, Withlacoochee Forestry Center
Mr. Avery is currently with the Withlacoochee Forestry Center and has made a statewide impact through his assistance with the Emergency Medical Responder program and structural training programs for wildland firefighters.
Volunteer Firefighter of the Year:
Alex Poitevien, Plantation Fire Department
Mr. Poitevien has committed his time to serving as a volunteer firefighter. In addition to his selfless service, Poitevien designed the graphics used on the Plantation Fire Department’s newest fire vehicle, which has now set the standards for all graphics used by the department.
Chad Reed Emergency Manager of the Year:
Alan Harris, Seminole County Emergency Management
During his more than 10 years of service, Mr. Harris’ guidance has created a more resilient community, knowledgeable of its role in preparing for and responding to events and disasters.
Fire Instructor of the Year:
Susan Schell, Florida State Fire College
Since joining the Bureau of Fire Standards and Training in 2004, Ms. Schell has helped develop training curriculums and rubrics for measuring the quality of training courses, both of which have improved certification testing.
Fire Training Center of the Year:
The Coral Springs Fire Academy
Coral Springs Fire Academy is a three-time winner of this celebrated award for its ability to bring about realistic, innovative and cost effective training programs to Florida and abroad.