FireRescue Magazine’s Company Officer of the Year Award: May

FireRescue Magazine’s Company Officer of the Year Award

Company officer leadership has always been integral to FireRescue magazine. When Chief Jim Page first founded FireRescue, he drew a bull’s-eye on the wall, and in the center, he wrote “Company Officers.” He wanted to emphasize the significant impact that company officers have on how a department serves its community. That’s why each year, FireRescue magazine demonstrates its commitment to company officer development and recognition through the Company Officer of the Year Award.

The award honors company officers with outstanding accomplishments in the areas of leadership, training, incident command, firefighter safety, interpersonal communications, and community involvement.

The Company Officer of the Year receives a $1,000 cash award and airfare, accommodations and registration to FDIC.


Captain Zahra Harvey
Fayetteville (N.C.) Fire/Emergency Management Department

Captain Harvey started volunteering in 1996 after witnessing firefighters turn chaos into order at a difficult extrication scene. She joined the Fayetteville Fire/Emergency Management Department in 1997, and was promoted to captain in 2005. Harvey was selected for the prestigious award, in part, due to her commitment to safety. FireRescue Editor-in-Chief Tim Sendelbach read this part of her nomination form during the award presentation: “Safety is not just a catch phrase to Captain Harvey. She lives it, and the people around her crew know it and practice it. I have never seen an officer more dedicated to the success and advancement of her crew. She puts 100% of herself in everything she does and inspires others around her to do the same.” Additionally, Captain Harvey was recognized for a host of other reasons: Her crew trains constantly and in a variety of conditions; her RIT training is dreaded by the new recruit classes because of her reputation for training hard under real conditions, and demanding the best from each recruit; she leads the city’s Peer Fitness Training program; she is a strong, sometimes brutally honest, yet respectful communicator, never leaving doubts about her expectations—but she’s also a great listener; the officer in charge of large-scale events will often call upon her to assist with command and investigating the incident afterward due to her extensive knowledge of fire causes; she makes herself available to each member of her crew and others as they move forward in their career, taking a personal interest in their advancement; and she works with Silent Heroes, a club of firefighters who ride motorcycles. They attend funerals and memorials and represent the fire service in honoring fallen brothers and sisters.


Technical Sergeant (TSgt) Travis Benne
Station chief with Andersen Fire and Emergency Services in Guam

Technical Sergeant (TSgt) Travis Benne is a station chief with Andersen Fire and Emergency Services in Guam. Sergeant Benne was recognized for his excellent fire service leadership, commitment to safety and preparedness, and dedication to professional development. He holds a master’s degree in Executive Fire Service Leadership and was one of the first in the United States Air Force’s Fire Protection career field to complete the Professional Development certification through FEMA's Emergency Management Institute. While serving in various fire protection positions at bases throughout the United States and South Korea since 2003, Benne has also been deployed four times as a firefighter to support Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. He has received the Air Force Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Achievement Medal with Valor Device with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Achievement Medal, and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. Benne regularly works as a public educator for home and workplace fire safety. He leads a family reading night at the Andersen Air Force Base Elementary School, serves as a merit badge instructor for the Boy Scout Troop on base, and serves as one of the base squadron’s CPR instructors.

Lt. Kevin M. Kalmus
Austin (Texas) Fire Department

Kalmus is a lieutenant with Austin (Texas) Fire Department, assigned to Engine 16 in north/central Austin. He has a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and a master’s degree from the University of Texas. He serves as an instructor for the IAFF’s Affiliate Leadership Training Summit, as well as a Master Instructor for the IAFF/IAFC Fire Ground Survival Program. Lt. Kalmus has written numerous articles and instructs nationally on engine company operations and firefighter survival. He was instrumental in establishing a burn camp for children in Austin and gets involved in many areas of community outreach. Lt. Kalmus has received the Austin Fire Department’s medals of Valor, Merit and Commendation.

Lt. Shawn M. Jones
Anne Arundel County (Md.) Fire Department

Lt. Jones is a 14-year veteran of the Anne Arundel County (Md.) Fire Department, a 1,400-personnel career and volunteer department.He was promoted to Fire Apparatus Driver/Operator in 1998and to lieutenant in 2007. Lt. Jones has served his department as a Recruit Training Officer, Field Training Officer, Public Information Officer and Fire and Life Safety Educator.He is currently assigned as a Company Officer/Shift Supervisor at Station 26 in South Glen Burnie—the busiest station in the county.He also serves as a Liaison Officer on the Regional Type III Incident Management Team.

Captain Michael C. Hayes
FDNY Ladder Company 28

Captain Hayes started his fire service career at the age of 16 as a member of the Volunteer Departments of Binghamton N.Y. He eventually became the chief of the Garden City Fire Department in Nassau County. Upon relocation to Middletown, N.Y., Captain Hayes became a member and eventually chief of the Slate Hill Volunteer Department. Hayes is a New York State and nationally certified fire instructor. Hayes was appointed to the New York City Police Department in 1984, and then appointed to the FDNY in 1989. After completing Probation Training at the Fire Academy, he was assigned to Engine Company 69 in Harlem. Capt. Hayes was promoted to Lieutenant in 1999 and assigned to the Division of Training where he served until assignment to Ladder 38 in 2003. He was promoted to Captain in 2005 and assigned to Ladder 28 in 2006, where he serves today. Hayes was instrumental in developing a victim/injured firefighter removal system and procedure called the Belmont System (named for the firehouse on Belmont Avenue).

Captain Daniel Corder
Loudoun County (Va.) Fire & Rescue Department

Captain Daniel Corder started his fire career as a volunteer with the Ashburn (Va.) Volunteer Fire Company in 1974. As a junior member, Corder completed his NFPA 1001 Fire Fighter I, II and III training as well as becoming an EMT-A shortly after his 18thbirthday. He was the first member of the Ashburn Company to become a certified EMT. During his active volunteer years, Corder served in many operational positions, including assistant chief. Corder served with the Prince William Fire and Rescue Department as a career fire fighter from 1983 to 1989. In 1988 he became a career station officer at Loudoun County.

Captain Richard Kellogg
Engine 5A of the Virginia Beach (Va.) Fire Department

Captain Kellogg was an original member of the VBFD’s Safety Committee and served the committee for 20 years. He routinely acts as the shift safety officer and believes in “fitness for duty.” Kellogg received the Model Partnership in Education Award for his community involvement at North Landing Elementary School. According to his nominations, Kellogg has three goals: everyone goes home, get the job done, and have fun.

Lt. Steve Shupert
Miami Township (Ohio) Division of Fire and EMS

Steve Shupert is a lieutenant with the Miami Township (Ohio) Fire-EMS Department. A 20-year firefighter-paramedic, Shupert works on the second platoon Engine-Rescue Company 48. He is a member of the Ohio Task Force 1, and was task force leader at the World Trade Center and during Hurricane Katrina. He is also a member of the FEMA-USAR Rescue Working Group. Read more from Steve here.

District Chief Billy Schmidt
Palm Beach County (Fla.) Fire Rescue

Billy Schmidt is a district chief assigned to the 3rd battalion with Palm Beach County (Fla.) Fire Rescue. An adjunct instructor for the department’s Training and Safety Division, he has a master’s degree in organizational leadership, a bachelor’s degree in human resource management and an associate’s degree in fire science. He’s a member of FireRescue magazine’s Editorial Board and the author of Read more from Billy Schmidt here.

Lt. Scott Lyon
Clive (Iowa) Fire Department

Lt. Lyon was nominated by Firefighter/Paramedic Christopher Cross of the Clive (Iowa) Fire Department. In his nomination, Cross said “Scott is an outstanding officer and deserving of this award. He exemplifies everything a fire officer should be. He truly is an outstanding mentor, supervisor, and friend. The Clive Fire Department is fortunate to have him as an employee.”


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