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East Pierce Fire announces employee recognition awards

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The recipients of the 2014 Recognition Awards were honored by the East Pierce Fire and Rescue Fire Commissioners and command staff in a ceremony held at the Edgewood station Tuesday, Feb. 17.

Lieutenant Kevin Stabenfeldt was named Officer of the Year. For the first time, there was a tie for Career Firefighter of the Year. The award went to Firefighter Jeff Lachowitzer and Lieutenant Rob Ruszala. Earlier in the evening, Ruszala was pinned in a ceremony to commemorate his promotion to Captain. In the same ceremony, Matt Gilbert received his lieutenant’s badge.

For the second year in a row, Firefighter-paramedic Mike Gladstone received the Emergency Medical Services Provider of the Year award.

Firefighter-paramedic Hunter Chumbley received the Mike Roberts Goodwill Award. The award is named for retired East Pierce Lieutenant Mike Roberts. It is presented to the firefighter who has done the most to embody selfless service. Chumbley heads the Local3520’s annual Firefighters’ Coats for Kids program that raises money to purchase and distribute warm coats to elementary school children who live within the fire district. In 2014, they provided 618 coats to area children.

Volunteer Firefighter Kyle Mosher was named Volunteer Responder of the Year. Mosher was also presented the Ken Thawsh Inspirational Award. The Thawsh Award is given to the person who most exemplifies the East Pierce mission statement – “Exceptional people providing compassionate service and rapid response to our community’s diverse needs.”

The Chief's Company included Gilbert, Firefighters Heidi Rolfsness, Jeff Conover and Jeff Lachowitzer, and Volunteer Captain Mark Nevill. While all the other awards are voted on by the firefighters, the Chief’s Company is determined by the command staff.

The annual Fitness Award went to Firefighter Ben Pieper.

Former receptionist Shelly Nieman received the Administrative Support Staff of the Year Award.

East Pierce Fire Chief Jerry E. Thorson congratulated all of this year’s recipients, noting that they were selected by their peers for their leadership skills and efforts to mentor and educate others, setting a standard for themselves and others. “Thanks to everyone for your hard work for the district and our citizens, it is appreciated,” he told them.