The Saginaw Fire Department held its annual awards ceremony Tuesday, Oct. 10 during Fire Prevention Week, honoring men and women who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
Firefighters and citizens alike were recognized for acts of bravery, heroism and dedication. Awards included certificates of recognition for brave citizens, special recognition awards to fire personnel for exceptional service and unit citations for at least two units working in a coordinated effort to positively impact an emergency situation.
Fire Chief Christopher Van Loo says he couldn’t be prouder of the men and women under his command.
“We’ve got a great department here, totally dedicated men and women. I couldn’t be more proud of the personnel we have. They make the organization. It’s a good thing we’re getting an opportunity to recognize them for what they do.”
The department recognized a young boy for his bravery. 13-year-old Boy Scout Andreas Buford was attending a safety training exercise August 12 at the department’s Fire Safety House which simulates a smoke filled building and teaches young people what to do in the event of a fire. During the exercise, a six-year-old girl was separated from the group. The teen noticed the girl hadn’t come out with the rest, so went back inside to find her. The girl was scared, but Buford reassured her by telling her it was okay. He was presented with a Certificate of Recognition for his actions.
The department also named Engineer Chedrick Greene as the 2017 Firefighter of the Year. Greene has served with the department since 1999 as well as serving in the US Marine Corps for 23 years. The award was presented to Greene for exhibiting an attitude of unselfish cooperation, obvious devotion to duty, a willingness to contribute more than required and setting a good example to others both on and off duty.
Greene says he wants to be a positive representation of his community.
“I’ve lived in this community my whole life. I just want to see it prosper. With the military, I’ve been to 13 countries around the world and it’s an honor for me to go represent Saginaw. Obviously the military as well, but to represent Saginaw in these endeavors as I go around the world.”
Greene has been instrumental in the development of the Diversity Initiative Community Explorers or DICE Program which encourages young people between the ages of 15 and 17 to discover what it means to be a firefighter. He also actively volunteers his time for a number of charities and organizations to help improve the community.
In addition to Greene, the Saginaw County Exchange Club also recognized four other firefighters from different departments around the county as Firefighter of the Year. They include Ken Dittenber of the Tri-Township department, Greg Sass of the Saginaw Township department, Casey Cichowski from the Thomas Township department and Kevin Little of the Kochville Township department.
During the Saginaw Fire Department ceremony, a moment was dedicated to the 13 firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice while performing their job. The first man lost was William Pringle in 1873. The last firefighter, Rossco Hall, was killed in 1992. Department chaplain William Howard read the names solemnly as a bell rang out for each man and Amazing Grace was played on the bagpipes by Midland firefighter Max Kopplin.
- William E. Pringle – May 28, 1873
- James Kenefick – July 10, 1878
- Chief George Wallace – October 21, 1915
- Marcy C. Wilton – August 28, 1920
- John Collier March 15, 1922
- Eugene Parker – April 23, 1927
- Henry Flack – May 8, 1928
- Paul Jonitz – August 21, 1928
- Earl A. Rock – August 21, 1928
- David D. Casey – June 29, 1937
- Edward J. Thomas – February 1, 1960
- A. William Dijak – May 6, 1973
- Rossco Hall – May 23, 1992