FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 12, 2015
Contact: Amanda Fontaine Emily Myers Garner
MBF Executive Director SOIRÉE, LLC ~ Event Planning & PR
(601) 540 – 2995 601-212-9870
Mississippi Burn Foundation
Recognizes 2014-2015 HEARTS FOR HEROES
“FIREFIGHTER OF THE YEAR”
(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. Firefighter of the Year nominees must have demonstrated heroic services beyond the call of duty. Lieutenant Jeff Morgan of the Hattiesburg Fire Department and Firefighter Kent Wilburn of the Cleveland Volunteer Fire Department were selected as finalists. The 2014-2015 Firefighter of the Year was awarded to Battalion Chief Carroll Lancaster, Captain Tommy Massey, Captain Robert Kain, Captain Jimmy Whitson, Engineer Randall Beatty, Firefighter Darryl Brown, Firefighter Sam Collier and Firefighter Herbert Tedford of Columbus Fire and Rescue.
FINALIST – LIEUTENANT JEFF MORGAN, Hattiesburg Fire Department
Emergencies are expected for first responders, but when the Hattiesburg Fire Department was alerted to respond to an emergency concerning a fully involved house fire with two individuals trapped inside, Engine 2 commanded by Lieutenant Morgan sprung into action. They arrived on the scene to find the home 80% involved with fire and an elderly gentlemen still trapped inside. As Morgan’s crew, Relief Driver Jonathan Moore and Firefighter Robert Smith, prepared for an offensive attack, Morgan began a 360-degree survey of the structure. Looking through a window, Morgan spotted an elderly man who was unable to raise himself to the window sill. Morgan dragged an air conditioning unit he found in the yard to the window and used it boost himself into the window. He grabbed the man and lifted him through the window to an awaiting bystander outside. As the bystander and ambulance personnel cared for the victim, Morgan returned to his crew, entered the front door of the home and extinguished the fire as other fire units arrived on scene. Lieutenant Morgan acting quickly, selflessly, responsibly and in doing so, saved a life.
PICTURED ABOVE: LIEUTENANT JEFF MORGAN, Hattiesburg Fire Department
MBF’s 2014 – 2015 HEARTS FOR HEROES Firefighter of the Year Finalist (Front Row L-R): Jeff Kuntz, Emergency Equipment Professionals, Lieutenant Jeff Morgan, Hattiesburg Fire Department, Amanda Fontaine, Mississippi Burn Foundation, and Ann Lott, Colonial Pipeline.
FINALISTS – FIREFIGHTER KENT WILBURN, CLEVELAND VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT
Voted the 2014 Most Outstanding Firefighter of his department, Wilburn has been with the Cleveland Volunteer Fire Department since 2008 and is currently serving as Captain. A member of the Arial Rescue Team, Extrication Team and Haz-Mat Team, Wilburn has been trained by the State Fire Academy and the National Fire Academy. He is a Level 1 and 2 volunteer firefighter and an FDIC participant. Known for his professionalism, Wilburn has led numerous interior fire attacks and extrications in 2014. His dedication to the Cleveland Volunteer Fire Department can be seen by the countless hours he spends cleaning air packs, checking equipment and making sure his firefighters are safe. Firefighter Wilburn is known for his staunch dedication to fire service and the safety of his community.
PICTURED ABOVE: FIREFIGHTER KENT WILBURN, CLEVELAND VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT
MBF’s 2014 – 2015 HEARTS FOR HEROES Firefighter of the Year Finalist (Front Row L-R): Jeff Kuntz, Emergency Equipment Professionals, Firefighter Kent Wilburn, Cleveland Volunteer Fire Department, Amanda Fontaine, Mississippi Burn Foundation, and Ann Lott, Colonial Pipeline.
WINNERS – BATTALION CHIEF CARROLL LANCASTER, CAPTAIN TOMMY MASSEY, CAPTAIN ROBERT KAIN, CAPTAIN JIMMY WHITSON, ENGINEER RANDALL BEATTY, FIREFIGHTER DARRYL BROWN, FIREFIGHTER SAM COLLIER and FIREFIGHTER HERBERT TEDFORD, Columbus Fire and Rescue
Responding to a call is not out of the ordinary for a firefighter, but on October 1, 2014, there was a fire at an apartment complex in Columbus that demanded expedient rescue. While all personnel involved with the fire are heroes for the hard work they do, these eight (8) individuals stand out for the role they played in saving the lives of the victims trapped inside the structure. Captain Tommy Massey pulled the first two victims, both children, through the second floor window and handed them down to Battalion Chief Carroll Lancaster and Firefighter Sam Collier, who both began performing CPR on them. Captain Massey then went into the building with Firefighter Darryl Brown and they located the mother and handed her out of the window to Captain Jimmy Whitson who began CPR on her. Captain Robert Kain, Engineer Randall Beatty, Firefighter Herbert Tedford and Firefighter Sam Collier then went in to the burning structure to search for a 4th victim. Captain Kain and Firefighter Collier carried the last victim out of the building and began performing CPR until the ambulance arrived. These brave men all worked in unison to provide expedient care that resulted in saving the lives of four victims of an apartment fire. They are stunning examples of heroism in the face of imminent danger.
PICTURED ABOVE: WINNERS – BATTALION CHIEF CARROLL LANCASTER, CAPTAIN TOMMY MASSEY, CAPTAIN ROBERT KAIN, CAPTAIN JIMMY WHITSON, ENGINEER RANDALL BEATTY, FIREFIGHTER DARRYL BROWN, FIREFIGHTER SAM COLLIER and FIREFIGHTER HERBERT TEDFORD, Columbus Fire and Rescue
MBF’s 2014 – 2015 HEARTS FOR HEROES Firefighter of the Year Winners (Back Row L-R): Battalion Chief Robert Kain, Engineer Randall Beatty, Jeff Kuntz, Emergency Equipment Professionals, Captain Tommy Massey, Battalion Chief Carroll Lancaster, and Firefighter Sam Collier (Front Row L-R): Captain Jimmy Whitson, Firefighter Herbert Tedford, Mayor Robert Smith, City of Columbus, Amanda Fontaine, Mississippi Burn Foundation, and Ann Lott, Colonial Pipeline.
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