The Murfreesboro Fire Rescue Department recently hosted its annual Years of Service/Awards and Recognition Ceremony and Memorial Service at Patterson Park Community Center.

The night began with recognizing personnel who reached Years of Service milestones.

They were as follows:

30 Years: Lee Douglas, Troy Thomas, Daryl Alexander, Carol Whitaker, Jeffrey Day, Carl Peas, and Kaye Jernigan

15 Years: David Bricker, Davey Ferrell, Kenneth McFarland, Ray Robinson, James White, Mitchell Whittenburg, and Kyle Winnett

10 Years: Zach Fleenor, Rob Odom, Jonathan Parsons, Joshua Parsons, Jeremy Morris, Benson Cothran, Jason Norris, Sean Wheeler, Jonathan Gaither, John Flynt, and Josh Warren

5 Years: Brent Stephens and Justin Lewis

Several personnel were promoted during 2018. The ceremony was an opportunity for family members or other designees to pin their new badges on their uniforms.

Assistant Chief: Carl Peas

Battalion Chiefs: Joe Bell, Jamie Bigelow, Brian Lowe, and Mark McCluskey

Fire and Life Safety Specialists: Dwajuan Howse, Eugene Todd, and Shandreah Womack

Captain: Chris Ayers, David Bricker, Richard Crick, Karl Daigle, Doug Inglish, Chase Martin, Joel Patnode, and Randy Shaw

Engineer: Adam C. Brown, Kevin Defeo, Josh Jackson, Taylor Lasseter, Jamie Layhew, Dustin Liddell, Justin McCraven, Rob Odom, Duane O’Donnell, Julia Pitt, Matt Roeger, and Matthew Twomey

Fire Chaplains: Stephen Ellison, James Ray, and Terry Smith

MFRD’s latest recruit classes were recognized for their accomplishments. One group graduated from the Tennessee Fire and Codes Enforcement Academy in Bell Buckle, TN in November, the other in December from the Franklin Fire Department Training Academy.

TFACA Recruit Class: Harrison Hovater, Christopher Llanes, Christopher Pokracki, and Caleb Walls

Franklin Recruit Class: Tyler Allen, Corra Dirksen, Tyson Donaldson, Nicholas Lanzafame, Sterling Rogers, Ryan St. Peter, and Jarriett Toney

Firefighters that received the Toot’s Restaurant "Firefighter of the Month" awards in 2018 were mentioned, as well as the Noon Exchange Club’s "Firefighter of the Year."

The program then shifted to unit citations which occur when a crew performs an act as a team that results in a positive outcome. Two unit citation awards were given this year.

In June 2018, the first crew to be honored, responded to an apartment complex in which a young girl’s arm was stuck inside of a pipe in the swimming pool. The crew worked for 2.5 hours to free the child and their teamwork was undoubtedly a contributing factor to the successful rescue. Those personnel were: Jeff Irvin, Titus Jackson, David Branch, Adam Ross, Raleigh Marlin, Mitchell Whittenburg, Matt Roeger, Matt Young, Renard Brown, Beau Doss, Brent Stephens, Gary Hutchinson, Chase Martin, and Kevin Defeo.

The second group to receive a unit citation was recognized for their "precise care" of a patient who had a deep laceration to her neck. As a team, they began life-saving measures upon arrival and the patient’s life was ultimately saved. Those members were: Karl Daigle, Cruz Macias, and Matt Young.

Fire Rescue Chief Mark Foulks also recognized members of the public for various accomplishments. Five teachers from St. Rose School were presented the "Citizens Award" for contributing to the health and life safety of members of their community. Julie Menke, Jodi Vehr, Ronnie Franceson, Renee Loper, and Colleen Hawkins provided medical care to a student’s grandfather who had become unconscious in his driver’s seat while in the pick-up line. Foulks said, "Because of their efforts, a young man and his grandfather are able to make many more memories together."

Foulks presented Kathy Ferrell, Executive Director of the American Red Cross Heart of Tennessee Chapter, with a Community Partner Award. He noted the various cooperative projects between MFRD and the Red Cross including smoke alarm canvasses and blood drives. He also touched on their assistance to citizens who find themselves in need after a fire or disaster.

The final awards of the evening were the Community Service Awards. Chellie Leetz accepted the award on behalf of Mission BBQ. The restaurant is dedicated to honoring the public safety and military members of the community. Foulks mentioned a few instances in which they donated food to help first responders, and even went as far as bringing food to the family of a retired MFRD member who passed away. John Lee Smith, also known as Big Smo, also received a Community Service Award for donating his time to the department for various projects such as the Lip Sync Challenge and "Cooking with MFRD." Foulks mentioned Smith’s donation of an autographed flag which will assist in raising funds for the Public Safety Relay for Life Team.

Before moving on to the Memorial Service, Deputy Chief Roger Toombs named the personnel who retired in 2018 and thanked them for their service: Robert Alsup, Jeff Bratcher, Keith Bratcher, Steve Melton, Billy Sauls, Nora Smith, and Guy Matthews.

Lastly, MFRD remembered the members of the department who passed away in 2018. Chaplain Lee Douglas described each of the deceased members to the audience as either their family member or an Honor Guard representative placed a single rose on a helmet spotlighted center stage. Those personnel were William "Bubba" Daniel, Dawson McCrary, and Gary Ralston.

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