The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Tommy Wells
Seward Phoenix LOG 

Three local firefighters honored at annual fire conference in Fairbanks

 

October 6, 2016 | View PDF

Courtesy photo

Three members of the Seward Fire Department were recognized with awards at the recent Alaska Fire Service Conference in Fairbanks. Among the local firefighters honored were (from left to right), Jilian Chapman, Eddie Athey and Austin Chapman.

Over the years, the Seward Volunteer Fire Department has racked up plenty of awards and respect from its fellow emergency responders. So winning awards is nothing new.

However, even the SVFD members had to be amazed recently when three members of the local fire department were honored for their efforts with prestigious awards at the 2016 Alaska Fire Service Conference in Fairbanks. Overall, three of the five major awards handed out during the conference by the Alaska State Fire Marshall went to Seward firefighters.

Austin Chapman, Jilian Chapman and Eddie Athey garnered perhaps the top three award of the conference. Austin Chapman was named the 2016 Firefighter of the Year, while Jilian Chapman and Athey were the recipients of the Dell Moffitt Award and the Ken Akerley Fire Service Leadership Award, respectively.

In receiving the 2016 Firefighter of the Year honors, Chapman was recognized for his commitment to the safety of the community and his hours of hard work. The Firefighter of the Year award, which was first presented in 1987, is presented to an emergency responder who serves their communities in many different ways; responding to emergencies, organizing safety events and being a role model of community responsibility.

To be eligible for the Firefighter of the Year award, a candidate must demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to firefighting. This can be evidenced by outstanding actions on the fireground or at other functions in their community during the year.

Jilian Chapman was presented the prestigious Del Moffitt Award for her work. The Del Moffitt Firefighter of the Year Award is presented annual to the firefighter that rises above their physical limitations to excel in their position.

The award originated in the Ketchikan Chapter for the Alaska State Firefighter's Association and was named for former firefighter Del Moffitt, who served many years in Ketchikan and Cordova despite having suffered from polio as a youngster.

Chapman is the third member of the Seward Fire Department to win the award, following in the footsteps of Janice Melvin in 2014 and Oscar Watsjold in 1992.

Athey was the recipent of the Ken Akerly Fire Service Leadership Award. The award is presented to a firefighter each year that displays a true dedication and passion for the fire service, safety, instruction and rural Alaska communities.

Courtesy photo

Austin Chapman, Jilian Chapman and Eddie Athey stand with Lt. Jonathan Gage, the training officer for the Seward Volunteer firefighters, at the Alaska Fire Service Conference in Fairbanks.

Akerly, a former assistant fire chief, exemplified fire service leadership. He worked throughout his life to promote teamwork among the fire service in Alaska in order to improve firefighter and community safety. He instilled an enthusiasm for fire service leadership in everyone with whom he worked or taught.

The Ken Akerly Leadership Award was initially awarded as the Fire Officer of the Year award and was first presented in 2006.

To be eligible for the award, a candidate must exhibit an extraordinary commitment to leading their fire department and has earned the trust and respect of their subordinates and peers. This can be evidenced by outstanding actions on the fireground or at other functions within their community during the year.

Other awards presented at the conference included the William A Hagevig Fire Instructor of the Year award and the Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year honors.

 

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