In December, 2012, the Asheville Fire Department responded to an auto accident on Lyman Street in which a vehicle wound up upside down in the French Broad River with the driver trapped inside.
The team of firefighters that worked the scene would grow to 16 strong, and involved water rescue and dive team personnel, but they managed to save the life of the woman in the vehicle. Those are the kinds of stories the department reflects on each year at its promotion and recognition ceremony. Some stories, such as the French Broad rescue, make headlines. Other times, they are not as widely noted. But in each case highlighted by Chief Scott Burnette at the September 11 ceremony, a life was saved.
“These are all people who are alive today because of the actions of our firefighters,” Burnette said.
The incident recognition has become a tradition at the annual ceremony, held in conjunction with the remembrance of first responders and citizens who perished in the 2001 attacks in New York City, Washington D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. In remembering the sacrifice of those fallen, Burnette said, we also honor those who put themselves in harms way in the interest of saving lives.
Mayor Terry Bellamy thanked the firefighters of Asheville for their “unwavering dedication.”
“I know the people of Asheville, Buncombe County and Western North Carolina appreciate the service you provide each and every day,” Bellamy said. “You all answer a call that most of us only think about answering. You run in when others run out.”
Below are those recognized at the ceremony, including promotions, notable achievements and firefighters who have retired since last year’s ceremony.
Retirees in the last year:
Andrew Henderson, Captain
Herbert Roberson, Engineer
James Fox, Captain
Joseph Heafner, Engineer
Johnny McCulloch, Engineer
Mike Bellows, Captain
Keith Gillespie, Captain
Michael Roland, Captain
Ronald Morrow, Captain
Thomas Brown, Engineer
John Gaines, Senior Firefighter
James Cowan, Battalion Chief
Gordon Silvers, Senior Firefighter
David McFee, Assistant Chief
Harley Haug, Senior Firefighter
To Safety Training Officer:
Michael P. Riley
To Senior Firefighter:
Deputy Fire Marshal Tracy Coggins, Advanced Firefighter
Deputy Fire Marshal Rodger Martin, Advance Firefighter
Assistant Fire Marshal Jeff Payne, Advanced Firefighter
Assistant Fire Marshal Tre Allen, Advanced Firefighter
Recognition of professional achievements:
Fire Marshal Wayne Hamilton received Fire Marshal Designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence on Professional Credentialing and Fire Plans Examiner from the International Code Council.
Arson Investigator David Cutshall received Basic Law Enforcement Training Certification at A-B Tech, Evidence Collection Technician from the International Association of Arson Investigators and Practical Dynamics and Modeling from the National Fire Academy.
DFM Dewayne Fender received Origin and Cause-National Fire Academy
DFM Casey Silvers received Origin and Cause-National Fire Academy, Level II Fire Inspector.
Acting Deputy Fire Marshal Amy Pollard received Fire Inspector Level II.
Deputy Fire Marshal Rusty Freck received Certified Fire Investigator Technician.
John “Sam” Roberson received Certificate of Merit (RIT Team and Training).
Barry Hendren received the GiGa Innovative Solutions Award.
Zach Wetmore and Philip Padilla recognized for outstanding work with the Asheville City Schools Foundation Celebration Community Choice Award-IRL Program.
Asheville Way Award recipients:
Recognition of significant events:
Childbirth complications – Apr. 14, 2013
Michael G. Riley
Cardiac arrest – Dec. 23, 1012
Cardiac arrest – Apr. 9, 2013
Life Saved, accidental stabbing – July 10, 2012
Life Saved, MVA at French Broad River – December 2, 2012
Cardiac Arrest – Dec. 28, 2012
Cardiac Arrest – July 16, 2013
Infant Choking – July 30, 2013
Cardiac Arrest – Aug. 15, 2013
Jimmie Causey II
Trench Rescue – Oct. 4, 2012
Cardiac Arrest – Feb. 14, 2013
Cardiac Arrest – Nov. 8, 2012
Cardiac Arrest – Nov. 1, 2012
Certificate of Merit – Boone RRT Response – June 8-9, 2013
AFD retirees who passed in the last year:
James “Moon” Waldrop, Engineer
Bobby Ingle, Engineer
Eddie Teague, Sr. Engineer
Rayburn Whitt, District Chief
Jack Waites, Captain
James Whitworth, Captain
David Bryson, District Chief