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Governor and Cabinet Honor Florida’s Top Fire and Rescue Service Workers in Annual Ceremony


CONTACT: Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE-Fire and rescue service workers from around the state were honored today by Florida's Governor and Cabinet in an annual event that recognizes outstanding achievers in the field.

"These individuals being honored are recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty," said Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who also serves as State Fire Marshal. "But they represent each and every fire and rescue worker who answers the call to serve and protect. They all deserve recognition and appreciation."

The following individuals were recognized for the year 2002:

· Bill Bailey, Hazardous Material Responder of the Year, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

· William Bingham, Florida Fire Chief of the Year, Boynton Beach Fire Rescue.

· Bob Carver, Florida Professional Firefighter of the Year, retired from the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department and current president of the Florida Professional Firefighters Association.

· Lex Cauffield, Volunteer Firefighter of the Year, Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department.

· Chipola Junior College, Training Center of the Year, Marianna.

· Shirley Copeland, Fire Educator of the Year, Alachua County Fire Rescue.

· Gerard Forte, Fire Service Instructor of the Year, Palm Coast Fire Department.

· Alan S. Harris, Florida Public Information Officer of the Year, Seminole County Fire Rescue.

· Don Jones, Florida EMS Paramedic of the Year, Marco Island Fire Rescue.

· Shane Kelley, Excellence in EMS/Rescue (posthumous honor), Oviedo Fire Department.

· Stephen Kona, Firefighter of the Year, Venice Fire Department.

· John Lake, Fire Marshal of the Year, Marion County Fire Rescue.

· Mike Oler, Fire Investigator of the Year, Florida Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigation, Southwest Florida Region.

· Will Raulerson, Florida Forestry Firefighter of the Year, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Division of Forestry, Bunnell District.

· Ron Rogers, Florida Search and Rescue Responder of the Year, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

· Roger Walters, Florida Emergency Vehicle Technician of the Year, Marion County Fire Rescue.

· Rodney Zancanata, Fire Inspector of the Year, Broward County Fire Rescue.

Florida's Governor and Cabinet also recognized firefighters' success last year in raising more than $18 million dollars for the Muscular Dystrophy Association as part of the International Association of Firefighters' annual "Fill the Boot" campaign. The "Fill the Boot" campaign has raised more than $200 million for the charity during the past 49 years.