Fire Protection District No. 1 held its annual awards banquet Dec. 5 honoring firefighters and personnel who have contributed to the safety of residents, businesses and communities in West Feliciana Parish throughout the year.
Fire Chief James Wood thanked the firefighters, their families, board members and fire officers for their sacrifices and service to their communities before presenting awards.
The Outstanding Fire Station award went to Tunica and Weyanoke fire stations for having the best percentages of responses and training.
Team commendation awards were given to firefighter crews for their actions while responding to difficult emergency incidents in 2014. The awards were presented to the crews who responded to the Myrtles Plantation fire, a three-vehicle wreck on La. 10 that required airlifting patients to a nearby hospital, a single-vehicle wreck with difficult extrication on La. 66 and three large structure fires that occurred on Pittman Road, Whitestown Road and La. 66, Wood said.
For outstanding contributions to the training and mentoring of junior personnel, firefighter Lt. Rudi Shoats was given the Mentoring Award. Individual awards for outstanding service and efforts that contribute to the improvement of the overall Fire District were awarded to Shoats, Chief Doug Hines and Capt. James Dutsch.
The Fire District’s Commendation Medal is awarded to a firefighter for action during an emergency incident or a member in conjunction with a service or project requiring determination, diligence, courage or skill, Wood said.
“Capt. Jim Weller receives this medal for his efforts improving the district’s training program, and Safety Officer Ronnie Bourgeois for establishing a fire inspection program,” Wood said.
Star of Life awards were presented to fire personnel who performed a rescue or medical intervention that directly led to the saving or prolonging of a life. Weller, Capt. Casey Phenald and firefighters Robert Hines and Payton Richardson received the Star of Life awards, Wood said.
Recruit of the Year awards were presented to Austin Loyacono and Virginia Brandt; Firefighter of the Year went to Robert Hines; Officer of the Year was awarded to Chief Russell Achord; and the Leadership Award was earned by Capt. Bonnie Hines.
For the first time in the fire district’s history, the presentation of Dedication and Sacrifice awards were given to personnel receiving significant line-of-duty injuries while serving the residents of West Feliciana. Firefighters Joe Morgan and Lt. Chris McCartey received the honor for injuries sustained in 2014, while Weller was honored for a previous injury, Wood said.
In addition to honoring Fire Protection District 1 personnel, Wood presented the Fire District’s Public Safety Commendation to Jim Ferguson, director of public works for West Feliciana, for his outstanding contributions to public safety within the past year.
Wood also recognized Bobby Oliveaux with the district’s Good Citizen Award for his assistance with two separate incidents and in rescuing a man suffering a medical emergency.
Wood presented certificates to personnel who were promoted Dec. 1: firefighter Hines was promoted to captain at the Spillman Fire Station; Dutsch was promoted to district chief of apparatus and facilities; and Capt. Hines was promoted to chief of public education.
“Congratulations to everyone honored here tonight for your service and dedication,” Wood said.