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Last year, Westport, CT, firefighters Joseph Arnson and Peter Janulis launched “Firefighters Going Further,” a program to encourage fellow firefighters to become organ and tissue donors. More than 60 firefighters, and some members of their families, are now registered locally. But that was just the first step. Their next goal is to raise awareness throughout the Westport community about the dividends of becoming a donor. That effort kicked off with a “Donate Life” flag-raising ceremony at the fire department headquarters on April 4. The flag was signed by each member of the department. “Our job is to protect and save lives, so it seemed like a natural progression to have the ability to do so in death,” said Arnson. The firefighters believe that although some firefighters may go their entire career having no direct role in saving someone, as an organ and tissue donor, they can save many lives in a matter of hours or days. The April 4 flag-raising ceremony included speeches by Fire Chief Christopher Ackley, Donate Life Connecticut Program Director Kari Mull, and double-lung transplant recipient and Firefighter George Carmen, who traveled from his home state of Maine. "Firefighters Going Further" plans to reach out to other fire departments in the area. Community parents are also being encouraged to sign up their under-18 children as donors, since many children also need organ and tissue transplants. For more information on how to register to become an organ and tissue donor, log onto www.donatelifenewengland.org.
NVFC Announces 2011 Award Winners
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has announced the winners of its four national awards. A special banquet was held in Alexandria, VA, to honor the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Fire Prevention Award, Junior Firefighter of the Year Award, and Junior Firefighter Program of the Year Award.
“We are very pleased to honor the 2011 NVFC award recipients and recognize the amazing contributions they have made to the emergency services,” said NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. “Outstanding departments and individuals from across the country were nominated for these four awards, and the recipients that were chosen truly exemplify outstanding service and commitment to the fire service. We thank you for all you do to strengthen the emergency services and protect your communities.”
This year’s winners were: Chief Glenn Jernigan – NVFC Lifetime Achievement Award; Kenneth Pagels – NVFC Fire Prevention Award; Lake Carmel, NY, Fire Department – NVFC Junior Firefighter Program of the Year; and Brendan Finley-Davis – NVFC Junior Firefighter of the Year.
Recipients of the NVFC’s four national awards received a trip to Alexandria to attend the award ceremony, a personalized award, and complimentary one-year membership in the NVFC, and other items. In addition, members of the Junior Firefighter Program of the Year will spend a day on Capitol Hill meeting their Congressional representatives. Learn more about the NVFC’s awards program at www.nvfc.org/awards.