- Department of Fire Services
Media Contact for Massachusetts Officials Present 31st Annual “Firefighter of the Year” Awards
Jennifer Mieth, Public Information Officer
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STOW — Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Public Safety and Security Secretary Thomas Turco, and State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey today announced in a virtual presentation the 31st annual “Firefighter of the Year” Heroic Awards. They honored firefighters from nine Massachusetts fire departments whose heroic acts of bravery and public service made a difference in their communities during Fiscal Year 2020.
The Medal of Honor was presented in-person to Tina Menard on behalf of her husband, Worcester Fire Lieutenant Jason Menard, who lost his life in a November 13, 2019 fire during which he saved a fellow firefighter. The virtual ceremony including a tribute to Lt. Menard can be viewed online at: https://www.facebook.com/MassDFS or YouTube.
“While the last year has been different in so many ways, one thing that hasn’t changed is the way firefighters have continued to respond to every call for help, regardless of any threat to their own health or safety,” said Governor Baker. “We are proud to honor their bravery and sacrifice through these awards and to reflect on their unwavering service.”
“This year has proved particularly difficult for our brave first responders and other essential workers,” said Lieutenant Governor Polito. “The Commonwealth’s firefighters perpetually go above and beyond, and this year they responded to the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19 by doing even more, despite the daily risks to their health.”
“There is no such thing as a routine call during a pandemic,” said Secretary Turco. “From safety inspections to house fires and hazmat response, every response carried new urgency and risk for the firefighters who answered the call. These awards, and the acts of selfless service behind them, reflect the gallantry that defines the Massachusetts fire service.”
“Firefighters serve their communities everyday whether through fire prevention, community education, fire suppression, emergency medicine, or specialized rescues. Much of what they do is very visible like the daring rescues and great teamwork we recognized today, but often the less visible behind-the-scenes work has an equal impact in the community, and I would like to acknowledge that today as well. In 2020, no children died in fires for the first time on record, which is a credit to the tremendous work of every firefighter in the state who tirelessly works to educate the public and prevent fires whenever they are not responding to an emergency,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey.
In addition to Lt. Menard, an additional 75 individuals were also recognized in a total of 15 awards, including:
- One Norman Knight Award for Excellence in Community Service to a group of Hanover firefighters for creating and conducting a COVID-19 testing program for the community’s most vulnerable populations in the early days of the pandemic.
- Eight Group Awards for Meritorious Conduct to teams of firefighters from Attleboro, Chicopee, Fitchburg, Hanson, New Bedford and Reading who performed extraordinarily in difficult conditions.
- Five Medals of Valor to individual firefighters from Fitchburg, New Bedford, and Rockland who went above the call of duty to protect members of the public in extremely dangerous conditions.
- One Individual Award for Meritorious Conduct to a Rockland firefighter who performed extraordinarily in difficult conditions.
The complete list of this year’s award winners is as follows:
Medal of Honor
- Worcester– Lieutenant Jason Menard (posthumously)
Medals of Valor
- Fitchburg - FF Roger Ortiz
- New Bedford - Lt. Kevin Cormier and FF Christopher Mount
- Rockland - Capt. Jason Fricker and FF Michael Tracy
Norman Knight Award for Excellence in Community Service
Hanover - Deputy Chief Jason Cavallaro, Captain Fred Freeman, FF/EMT-P Shayne Blakeman, FF/EMT-P Joseph Centeio, FF/EMT-P Joseph Pacella, FF/EMT-P Sebastian Rivas, FF/EMT-P Richard Salvucci, and FF/EMT-P Kyle Stetler
Group Awards for Meritorious Conduct
- Attleboro - Captain David Hardman, FF Carl Aveiro, and FF Brian Sweeney.
- Attleboro - Deputy Chief Dennis Perkins, Lieutenant Timothy Infante, Lieutenant Bruce Tondreau, FF Marcio Barcelos, FF/EMT-P Ryan Bielawa, FF Brian Dubuc, FF/EMT-P Cameron Eames, FF/EMT-P Matthew Ethier, FF/EMT-P Justin Jackson,
FF Russell Sanford, FF Brian Sweeney, and FF/EMT-P Nicholas Walker.
- Chicopee - Deputy Chief Wayne Lemay, Captain Peter Jerusik, Lieutenant Nicholas Lacasse, Lt. Daniel Sousa, FF Jon Fisher, FF Donald Grey, FF Steven Laurin, FF Zachary Pirog, and FF Stephan Willett.
- Fitchburg – Chief Anthony C. Marrama, Captain Chad M. Courtemanche,
Lieutenant Andrew K. Roy, FF Jeffrey Boudreau, FF Kenneth Hollums, FF Skyler Kozloski, FF Dean P. Osgood, FF Kristy C. Pappas, FF Michael J. Pawlak, FF Yona Vaughan, and FF Bill R. Vautour.
- Hanson - Chief Jerome A. Thompson Jr., Lieutenant Keith Wilson, FF Timothy Royer, FF Gary Somers, and FF Thomas White
- New Bedford – Capt. Kurt Houghton, Lieutenant Michael Dillon, Lieutenant. Robert Ferreira, FF Joshua Charbonneau, FF Robert Kirby, and FF Stephen Mourao.
- New Bedford – Lieutenant Derek DaCosta, Lieutenant Antonio Miraglia,
FF Richard McCue, and FF Matthew Perry.
- Reading – Captain Mark Dwyer, Lieutenant Scott Myette, FF Eric Bagby, FF Robert Beck, FF Paul Dalton, FF Steven DeBay, FF Robert Forsey, FF Derek Loftus, FF Thomas McCarthy, and FF Brian Roche.
Individual Award for Meritorious Conduct
- Rockland - FF Richard Furlong Sr.