The Gainesville City Council presented on Tuesday the 2023 Fire Department Awards to personnel with the Gainesville Fire Department.
Gainesville Fire Chief Brandon Ellis and Mayor Sam Couvillon presented the awards.
“Each individual was selected by their peers for outstanding dedication and commitment. Each award signifies the traditional symbol of bravery, commitment and professionalism within the fire service. The Gainesville Fire Department recognizes individuals that set an example of true commitment every year as a show of appreciation and respect,” Gainesville officials said in a release.
“I just want to say that I am very proud of the Gainesville Fire Department. All of its members, firefighters, men and women, thank you for your service,” Councilwoman Barbara Brooks said. “I am really appreciative of the times that you have shown up at my door, to help me take care of Mr. Brooks.”
Kyle Keating was presented with the Fire Officer of the Year Award. Ellis said the award is given to the officer who goes above and beyond the call of duty to benefit the citizens of the community.
The Firefighter of the Year Award was given to Taylor Whitmire. “They [Firefighter of the Year] are someone that you can go to and they will do anything you ask, they will give you advice, they will give you a shoulder to cry on,” Ellis said.
Ellis said the Life Saving Award is presented to personnel who, through their fast action and training, helped save the life of a patient who was deemed lifeless.
The Life Saving Award was given to Lieutenant Jonathan Benton, Sergeant Mitch Stevens and firefighter Mathew Lawson of station 3 B shift.
The Life Saving Award was also given to Sergent Dylan Elliot, Dwayne Goff and Sam Skelton of station 2 C shift.
Chief Ellis created a new award called the Dan and Henry Award named after two horses who pulled the department's buggy when it was first founded in 1876. Ellis said Dan and Henry were the backbone of the department and were always dependable.
“I wanted to create an award of excellence that shows an employee that never asks for a pat on the back or any credit,” Ellis said. “This person is someone who, regardless of what the situation is, keeps things moving behind the scenes so that the officers can do what they're paid to do.”
The Dan and Henry Award was presented to Sergeant Heath Hanlon.