The San Marcos Fire Department honored outstanding firefighters, city staff and citizens at the annual awards ceremony held on Thursday, March 1, 2018 at the Activity Center.
Fire Chief Les Stephens presided at the special event. Top awards went to:
- Engineer Scott Grunwald was designated as Firefighter of the Year and Captain Michael Orichuela as Officer of the Year. They were chosen by their peers for excellence in performance, leadership, work volume and quality, assistance with special programs and training.
- Medal of Merit: Captains Brian Quackenbush and Tory Turner, Engineer Kevin Holmes and Firefighter Aaron Crick that saved the life of a person by act of rescue.
- Phoenix Life Saving Award: This medal was awarded to Captain Jonathan Henderson, Firefighters Wesley Keathley and Lucas Sergent that provided the ultimate service of saving a human life when no pulse or breathing was present.
- Haynes Award: H-E-B, and Administrative Coordinator, Jana Green were honored for their long-standing affiliation, for their service to advance the department, the welfare of the firefighters and/or the fire service, and that benefits the citizens of San Marcos.
Captains Larry Howard, Brian Quackenbush, and Aaron Stewart had their families share their accomplishment by pinning their promotional badge to their uniform.
Three firefighters, Thomas Courchesne, Matthew Felton, and Pablo Nieto, took their Oath of Service to the department and were pinned with a firefighter badge by their families.
Unit Citations were awarded to those that worked together as a team, to rescue and escort multiple flood victims to safety during the April 11th flood and to members that provided Honor Guard services for fallen SMPD Officer Kenneth Copeland.
Perfect Attendance Awards for those who did not use any sick leave for the year. They were: Battalion Chiefs Jim Matano and Howie Minor, Captain Garrett Jordan, and Firefighters Daniel Martinez and Pablo Nieto. Second year in a row for perfect attendance went to: David Fernandez. Third year in a row: Firefighter Wesley Keathley. Fourth year in a row: Engineer Blake Schanhals and Firefighter Tanner McLean.
Service Awards were presented to: Fifteen Years Engineer Kevin Holmes; Ten Years Captains Larry Howard, Gregory Sherrill, Engineers Brad Mason and Bill Young, and Firefighter Russell Brown, 5 Years Engineer Bobby Nance and Firefighters Ross Garman, Daniel Martinez, Billy Mullins, and Administrative Assistant Sr., Melinda Villarreal.
Certificates of Appreciation and Merit went to numerous citizens, City Staff and firefighters recognizing their importance to the organization.
Other highlights included children in the audience singing Happy Birthday to Assistant Chief Karl Kuhlman and Assistant Chief Rick Rowell created a video with a year full of memories which included the celebrations of 10 new babies born in the department and memorial for SMPD Officer Kenneth Copeland.