Hearts for Hero’s 2015 Awarded to Horn Lake Fire Department

News Release


February 12, 2015

Contact:    Amanda Fontaine            Emily Myers Garner
MBF Executive Director                     SOIRÉE, LLC ~ Event Planning & PR

(601) 540 – 2995                     601-212-9870

afontaine@msburn.org                     soireems@gmail.com


Mississippi Burn Foundation

Recognizes 2014-2015 HEARTS FOR HEROES



(Jackson, MS) – The Mississippi Burn Foundation recently honored outstanding firefighters for exemplary job performance in 2014-2015.  Top firefighters and fire departments were recognized during “Hearts for Heroes,” a special awards gala presented by the Joseph M. Still Burn Centers, Inc.  Event sponsors included United States Environmental Services (USES), Southern Pine Electric Power Association, Woodmen of the World, McClain Lodge, Capital City Beverages, Southern Beverage Company, E&J Gallo Winery, and Soiree, LLC ~ Event Planning & Public Relations. Held at McClain Lodge in Brandon, the Valentine-themed event featured cocktails, a seated dinner, and live music by songwriter and firefighter Shannon Sandridge.  Finalists and winners received awards sponsored by Colonial Pipeline, Emergency Equipment Professionals and Merit Health Central Mississippi Medical Center. Nominations were received from across the state in the following categories – Fire Chief of the Year, Fire Officer of the Year, Firefighter of the Year and Fire Department of the Year.  Fire Department of the Year nominees must have demonstrated both spirit and service to the community and state through “courage into the fire.”  The Cleveland Volunteer Fire Department, Columbus Fire & Rescue and Flowood Fire Department were selected as finalists.  The 2014-2015 Fire Department of the Year was awarded to Horn Lake Fire Department.



With a long history of excellence in the community, this elite group of volunteers hail from all walks of life and many are second and third generation firefighters.  The Cleveland Volunteer Fire Department is a Class Five department and is responsible for fire protection in the city limits of Cleveland, Delta State University, a municipal airport, and Baxter Healthcare. A roster of thirty-seven firefighters are on call twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, providing outstanding fire service to the community responding to 250 calls annually.  In the past year, the department has supported the Mississippi Burn Foundation’s Shop with a Doc by raising over $1500, installed smoke detectors in needy homes, and supported Boy Scouts of America. They truly live up to the motto, “We Serve.”



MBF’s 2014 – 2015 HEARTS FOR HEROES Fire Department of the Year Finalist (Front Row L-R):  Assistant Chief Brian Bishop, Captain Kent Wilburn, Jeff Kuntz of Emergency Equipment Professionals, Amanda Fontaine of the Mississippi Burn Foundation, Chief Brent Rogers, Ann Lott of Colonial Pipeline, and Fire Inspector Greg Jackson.



Under the direction of Battalion Chief Mike Gibson, Columbus Fire & Rescue has spent the past several years becoming the first nationally accredited department in the State of Mississippi through the Center of Public Safety Excellence. This process took the dedication and teamwork of the whole department who were tasked with completing a self-assessment and comparative study of where Columbus ranked among the national standards. The unit identified strengths and weaknesses and created goals and objectives to address any issues. Columbus Fire & Rescue was recommended by a peer assessment team to become nationally accredited at the Commission on Fire Accreditation International Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Columbus Fire & Rescue and its devoted firefighters are dedicated to making a positive impact in the community and providing the best possible service to the Golden Triangle.




MBF’s 2014 – 2015 HEARTS FOR HEROES Fire Department of the Year Finalist (Front Row L-R): Jeff Kuntz of Emergency Equipment Professionals, Mayor Robert Smith, Chief Martin Andrews, Battalion Chief Mike Gibson, Amanda Fontaine of the Mississippi Burn Foundation and Ann Lott of Colonial Pipeline.



Comprised of seventy firefighters, paramedics and civilian personnel, the Flowood Fire Department serves a community of 8500 residents but the daytime numbers swell into the thousands with the area retail and medial businesses.  The department has a Central Fire Station, with a state of the art training facility, and three additional stations. The combat division is 63 members strong and there are four pumpers, two aerial trucks and one command vehicle. The inspection division is staffed by two full time Firefighter/Inspectors, one of which is a Paramedic, and the department provides the City of Flowood with a Class 4 fire rating.  Their Training Division has developed curriculum to meet NFPA and ISO standards along with EMS National Registry Continuing Education requirements for Basic and Paramedic levels. The Flowood Fire Department has an excellent working relationship with surrounding departments and are active members of the Rankin EOC Emergency Response Team.


MBF’s 2014 – 2015 HEARTS FOR HEROES Fire Department of the Year Finalist (Front Row L-R):  Training Officer Josh Hardee, Lieutenant Kyle Upchurch, Jeff Kuntz of Emergency Equipment Professionals, Chief Jeffrey Welborn, Ann Lott of Colonial Pipeline, Battalion Chief Alex Varner, Battalion Chief Mickey Price, Deputy Chief Johnnie Roland and Amanda Fontaine of the Mississippi Burn Foundation.



Responding to over 1,180 calls in 2014, this fire department is the epitome of teamwork.  They consistently demonstrate heroism and none more so than with four outstanding rescues. First, in January 2014, Horn Lake had significant freezing weather and ice.  A citizen lost control of his vehicle and was submerged into freezing water and trapped.  The training and swift water skills of the Horn Lake Fire Department were undoubtedly the reason this life was spared. Then, on March 3, 2014, while responding to a house fire, firefighters rescued a victim who had fallen asleep with a lit cigarette and was significantly burned, but because of Horn Lake Fire Department’s quick response his life was spared. On September 11th, Horn Lake experienced significant ravishing flooding hindering the main intersection of town.  It could not be traveled and many individuals were trapped.  Horn Lake’s quick actions prevented tragedies and caught national media attention.  Lastly, while responding to a house fire in December, the Horn Lake Fire Department rescued a 14 year old victim from a fully involved house fire. In each of these events, training and professional response were critical. Fire Chief David Linville states that “each of his staff’s actions were instrumental in preventing a potential tragedy that could have easily gone the opposite way.  I am beyond proud of each and every one of my staff members and sincerely appreciate the job well done and professional display that each of them portray on a daily basis.” In addition, the department raised over $15,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in 2014.




MBF’s 2014 – 2015 HEARTS FOR HEROES Fire Department of the Year Winner (Front Row L-R):  Jeff Kuntz of Emergency Equipment Professionals Battalion Chief Michael Casey, Lieutenant Jeff Tidwell, Amanda Fontaine of the Mississippi Burn Foundation, Chief David Linville, Battalion Chief Ron White, Ann Lott of Colonial Pipeline, Battalion Chief Mark Brown and Lieutenant Tyler Bland


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