Families, friends and members of Bryan County Emergency Services gathered at Station 7 on Dec. 27 for a badge-pinning ceremony for recently promoted personnel and to announce the department’s Firefighter of the Year.
BCES Chief Freddy Howell opened the ceremony and firefighter Phillip Seigler led the invocation. Howell then addressed the new officers and honorees with encouraging quotes about leadership that he said have inspired him such as, “Becoming a leader is about using your abilities to their max and learning as you go each and every day;” “There is no substitute for hard work and dedication;” “The organization as a whole is much more important than I will ever be as an individual;” and “Individuals fail — teams succeed!”
Each officer was then called up with his or her family member. Howell presented the officers with a badge and family member had the privilege of pinning the badge on their officer.
Officers were also presented with new fire helmets. Two firefighter/paramedics were promoted to battalion chief and three firefighter/emergency medical technicians were promoted to lieutenant.
The new officers are: Battalion Chief Matthew Schultz; Battalion Chief Deva Strode; Lt. John Fields; Lt. Ben Pape; and Lt. Mark Waters.
After the badge-pinning ceremony, Howell presented the Firefighter of the Year plaque to John Andriotis.
Andriotis was nominated and chosen earlier this year as the last Firefighter of the Quarter by his co-workers. He was later chosen as the Firefighter of the Year out of the quarterly award recipients.
Everyone then enjoyed fellowship and refreshments provided by firefighter/EMT Donna Allen and Schultz’s wife, Tara Schultz.
Howell noted that this was the department’s first formal badge-pinning ceremony but one that will become an annual tradition as BCES “continues to build a quality team of emergency services professionals,” he said.
“BCES is proud to promote all of these individuals and would like to thank them for their dedicated service, and thank their families for their unwavering support,” Howell said.