For Immediate Release - November 29, 2016

Governor Baker & Lt. Governor Polito Present 27th Annual “Firefighter of the Year” Awards

WORCESTER – Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito today joined Public Safety Secretary Daniel Bennett and State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey to honor firefighters from 11 Massachusetts fire departments for heroic acts of bravery at the 27th annual “Firefighter of the Year” Awards ceremony, held at Worcester’s Mechanics Hall. The event was emceed by WCVB’s Randy Price and Public Safety Undersecretary Patrick McMurray.

“This year’s award recipients used their training and experience to perform remarkable acts that helped save lives,” said Governor Baker. “We are proud to salute the sacrifices and excellence of these firefighters and all firefighters who willingly risk their lives on a regular basis to protect their community.”

“The brave firefighters we honor today entered homes on fire, cars submerged in water, and rescued victims against tremendous odds,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “Today’s ceremony allows us to express our appreciation to them and their families who sacrifice so much to keep us safe from harm.”

“The 48 people who have lost to fires so far this year are each a reminder of the need to remain vigilant in light of the very real dangers that exist,” said Secretary Bennett. “Fighting fires will always be dangerous work but we will never stop looking for ways to mitigate the risks and support the courageous men and women of the firefighting community.”

“My predecessor and mentor State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan is honored today for his leadership and foresight to protect the public from fire through some of the strongest fire codes and the best trained and equipped firefighters in the country,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “He sought to learn from every major incident to provide training and equipment to firefighters, to improve codes, and to better educate the public.”

The Governor and the Secretary presented 23 awards in total:

  • Two Norman Knight Awards for Excellence in Community Service to a Boston Lieutenant who works at the training academy and trains not only Boston firefighters but those from the surrounding communities; and a Hyannis firefighter involved in countless initiatives in his community related to children, as well as providing CPR training;
  • One Excellence in Leadership Award to a Boston Deputy Fire Chief for the lifesaving and progressive approach to educating firefighters on the link between the carcinogens they breathe and cancer and how they can help protect themselves;
  • Two Individual Awards for Meritorious Conduct to firefighters from Boston and Lynn for heroic rescues – one in a fire and the other a submerged car;
  • Five Group Awards for Meritorious Conduct to teams of firefighters from Boston, Fitchburg, Scituate, Watertown and Weymouth; and
  • 12 Medals of Valor to individual firefighters from Boston, Fitchburg, Lynn, Malden, Saugus, Swansea and Weymouth.

The State Fire Marshal’s award was presented to retired State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan, who was the longest serving State Fire Marshal in the Commonwealth’s history. His leadership and vision has led to well-trained firefighters, strong fire codes, and a safer Commonwealth. State Fire Marshal Ostroskey announced that the award would be henceforth named after Coan who first started the Firefighter of Year Awards Ceremony 27 years ago.

This year’s awardees are:

Norman Knight Award for Excellence in Community Service:

  • Boston – Lieutenant Daniel D. Gomes
  • Hyannis – Firefighter Barry Pina

Excellence in Leadership Award:

  • Boston – Deputy Chief Gregory J. Mackin

Individual Awards for Meritorious Conduct:

  • Boston – Firefighter William G. Carey
  • Lynn – Firefighter Estarlo Abreu

Group Awards for Meritorious Conduct:

  • BostonLadder Company 28 - Captain Robert J. Counihan, Firefighter David R. Blaides, Firefighter Danny D. Ryan, Firefighter Anthony J. Vargas
  • Fitchburg – Lieutenant Anthony Castelli, Firefighter Samuel Garcia, Lieutenant John Gilmartin, Firefighter John Girouard, Firefighter Matthew Glenny, Firefighter Peter Gradito, Deputy Chief David Gravel, Lieutenant Patrick Haverty, Firefighter Martin Kukkula, Firefighter Jude Lambert, Firefighter Kevin Lopez, Captain Anthony Marrama, Firefighter James Nault, Firefighter Timothy O'Kane, Lieutenant Patrick Roy, and Firefighter Shane Thomas
  • Scituate – Firefighter Richard Dehn, Firefighter Thomas Hernan, Captain Brian McGowan,Lieutenant Eric Norlin, and Firefighter Matthew Regan
  • Watertown – Deputy Chief Dan Tardif, Firefighter Darryl Baynes, Firefighter Jason Capello, Lieutenant Sean Connolly, Firefighter Sean Fitzgerald, Firefighter Shane Gleason, Firefighter Jonathan Mazzola, and Firefighter Jeffrey Meon
  • Weymouth – Firefighter Gabriel Araujo, Firefighter Anthony Diauto, and Firefighter Walter Langley

State Fire Marshal’s Award

  • Retired State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan

Medals of Valor

Boston – Firefighter Christopher J. Flaherty

Fitchburg – Chief Kevin D. Roy

Lynn – Firefighter Joseph Fannon, Lieutenant William Fritz, Firefighter Brett Johnson, Lieutenant David Stanley

Malden – Firefighter Gregory Jean

Saugus – Captain Christopher Rizza

Swansea – Captain Michael J. Patterson, Lieutenant Brett M. Medeiros, and Firefighter Patrick J. Burke

Weymouth – Firefighter Gary J. Walsh