For the hundreds of efforts, a few dozen awards

December 24, 2005

The Hood River Fire Department had its annual Christmas Awards Dinner on Friday, Dec. 16, in the Hood River Hotel Ballroom. More than 50 firefighters and their guests were in attendance.

The banquet was an annual get-together of all department members, both active and honorary. Many awards were presented for service, merit, and exceptional duty. Following is a list of those awards.

Service Awards are given to firefighters that have put in a certain number of years of service to the fire department.

Years of service pins were awarded to Volunteer/EMT Maria Roeder (six years), Engineer Diedrick Snelling (six years), Lieutenant Scott Tennant (six years), Assistant Chief Devon Wells (five years), Captain Manuel Irusta (nine years), Volunteer Matt Adams (10 years), Captain Dave Smith (10 years), Volunteer Nathan Smith (16 years), Lieutenant Doug Epperson (19 years), Captain Clay McCrea (19 yrs), and Engineer Greg Simpson (22 years).

Lieutenant Paul Henke was presented with a plaque for the Award of Merit he received in September of this year. Lieutenant Henke coordinates the annual MDA fund-raiser for the Hood River Firefighters Union. For two years the Hood River Fire Department has been the lead fire agency in Oregon, on a per firefighter basis, to raise money for the MDA.

In 2005, Lt. Henke led the efforts to raise more than $10,500 from the local community through various fund-raisers and the annual “Fill the Boot” campaign.

Annual recognition awards are given to three members of the fire department who have shown exceptional service and dedication to the community and the department. The awards are voted upon by the members of the department.

The 2005 Volunteer Firefighter of the Year was awarded to Jay Geraci. Firefighter Geraci has been with the fire department for more than four years and has been involved in every aspect of the organization.

In September 2005 he was promoted to a paid position and is currently completing Paramedic school in Vancouver, Wash.

The Engineer of the Year was awarded to Clancy Cox, who was chosen by his peers for his exceptional dedication to professionalism at the department. “He always ensures equipment and supplies are in the correct working order and loves his job,” said Assistant Chief Devon Wells.

The final award of the night was given to Captain Manuel Irusta for Officer of the Year. Captain Irusta has managed the training program for the last four years and is a very dedicated member of the department.

The 2005 Awards Banquet was an opportunity to recognize individuals within the fire department who give their all.

“It is very difficult to pick a few individuals that deserve awards since all of the members are always willing and ever ready to perform life saving functions, no matter what time of the day or what the weather conditions outside,” said Fire Chief Jeff Walker.

The firefighters in Hood River always live up to the mission statement of the department, “We, the members of this department, are committed to providing Emergency Services and Prevention Education to the Community we serve.”

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