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State’s Fire and Emergency Service Professionals Honored by Florida’s Cabinet


TALLAHASSEE - Treasurer Tom Gallagher, who also serves as State Fire Marshal, joined Governor Jeb Bush and members of Florida's Cabinet today in honoring several fire and emergency service professionals for their outstanding efforts over the past year by offering a resolution in their honor.

Each year the Florida Cabinet recognizes individuals who are selected by various fire service associations for the outstanding service they provide.

"Following Sept. 11, the nation is more aware of the sacrifices firefighters and emergency service professionals make to protect our families, friends and neighbors," Gallagher said. "These individuals honored today are recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty, but each and every firefighter deserves recognition and appreciation."

Prior to the Cabinet meeting, Treasurer Gallagher, the Division of State Fire Marshal, and the Florida Joint Council of Fire and Emergency Services hosted a ceremony and reception on the 22nd floor of the Capitol in their honor.

The Florida fire service awards began in 1965. Nominations for the fire service awards are submitted to the Professional Firefighters Association, the Florida Fire Chiefs Association and the Florida State Firefighters Association. A list of those receiving awards is attached.

Recipients of Florida Fire Service Awards

Florida Fire Chief of the Year
Julius Halas - Chief, Longboat Key Fire Rescue

Florida Public Information Officer of the Year
Gary Weiss - Deputy Chief, South Fort Walton Beach Fire Department

Florida Firefighter of the Year
Ken Gurdak and Robert Soto - Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue

Florida Forestry Firefighter of the Year
Herb Franklin [deceased] - Florida Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry

Florida Fire Marshal of the Year
Randy Hinder - Deputy Chief, Clearwater Fire Rescue)

Florida Fire Inspector of the Year
Michael Long - Fire Inspector, Division of State Fire Marshal

Florida Public Educator of the Year
Eric Robinson - Fort Walton Beach Fire Department

Florida Professional Firefighter of the Year
Jim Tolley - City of Melbourne

Florida Fire Instructor of the Year
David O. Messerschmidt - Fort Walton Beach Fire Department

Florida EMS Paramedic of the Year
Chris Dixon - Tamarac Fire Rescue

Florida EVT of the Year
Andy Milot - Andre's Auto & Truck Services, Inc.

Florida Fire Investigator of the Year
Dale Reisen - Estero Fire Rescue

Florida Volunteer Firefighter of the Year
Jennifer Borden - Desoto City Fire Department

EMT of the Year
Jeff Young - Pinellas County EMS & Fire Administration

Training Center of the Year
Ridge Technical Center, Winter Haven