The Saginaw Fire Department recognized its own and members of the community Tuesday, October 8 in a special awards ceremony.
Fire Chief Chris Van Loo and other ranking officials with the department presented the awards to firefighters, civilians and organizations who have shown courage in the line of duty, helped their fellow citizens or contributed to the department in some way. Awards included Civilian Certificate of Merit, Civilian Meritorious Service, Unit Citation, Life Saving Award and several others.
Van Loo says the ceremony is a time for the department to recognize their outstanding achievements.
“It’s needed. These men and women do a phenomenal job… I couldn’t be more proud.”
In addition to recognizing the achievements of the departments members, a time was set aside to also honor those who have served the Saginaw Fire Department and lost their lives in the line of duty. 13 members between 1873 and 1992 have died while in service to the department. Fire Chaplain William Howard read the names as a memorial detail lit a candle for each and rang a bell.
This year’s Firefighter of the Year went to David Gallagher. Gallagher was nominated by his fellow firefighters and chosen by an awards committee.
Van Loo says not only does Gallagher embody what it is to be a firefighter, but also improves the department in smaller ways that aren’t seen on a day to day basis.
“Just taking on our air monitoring calibration and maintenance. It seems, maybe not a high profile type of thing, but we rely on those air monitors on a daily basis. People’s lives depend upon those air monitors… If those aren’t operating properly and they’re not properly calibrated and so forth, we have some bad outcomes.”
The ceremony coincided with Fire Prevention week, running from October 6-12.