The Delaware Volunteer Firefighters announced the recipient for the Non-Heroic Firefighter of the Year Award at the annual Firefighter Luncheon Sept. 13. The 2012 Firefighter of the Year is Edward Michael Rush Jr. Rush is a past president of the Delaware State Fire Chiefs Association, the Delaware Valley Fire Chiefs Association and the New Castle County Fire Chiefs Association. He is a member of the Christiana Fire Company and an Instructor with the Delaware State Fire School. He has served the fire service for over 50 years and has held many leadership positions.
The previous evening, the Heroic and Meritorious Firefighters of the Year were announced by the Delaware State Fire Chiefs Association at their Annual Awards Ceremony. The Heroic Firefighters of the Year are Fire Chief Thomas Looney, Deputy Chief Jason Stieble, Captain Tim Laird and Firefighter Robert Lynch from the Talleyville Fire Company and Fire Chief Eric Haley of the Claymont Fire Company. These firefighters were recognized for their heroic efforts in saving the lives of two trapped firefighters who had fallen through the collapsed floors and into the basement of a house in north Wilmington in January 2013.
The Meritorious Award was presented to Cadet Firefighter John Barkley Jr., who is a member of the Clayton Fire Company. Barkley received his award for saving the life of a 4-year-old drowning victim in June 2013 near Cheswold. Barkley was visiting friends in the area when he heard the dispatch for the drowning victim. He immediately responded to the house and administered CPR.
On the same evening, the Delaware State Emergency Medical Services Association announced its annual awards. The Michelle Smith Memorial Heroic EMS Award was presented to Michael Conner of the Felton Community Fire Company for his saving the life of a severe trauma patient. The EMS Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Edward Lewis of the Hartly Fire Company. The Stephanie Callaway Memorial Excellence in Paramedicine Award was presented to Ralph Neil of the Kent County EMS. The EMS Instructor of the Year Award went to Denise Dill of the Dagsboro Fire Company, and the Georgetown American Legion Ambulance received special recognition for contributions to a national EMS program.
The DVFA Conference ended Sept. 14 with a parade in Dover which featured marching units, color guards, antique and contemporary firefighting apparatus, along with pumpers, rescue, tanker, aerial and marine equipment. Milton Fire Company won top prize in the Antique Apparatus category. Indian River won top prize in the Marine Unit category.