NVFC Presents 2017 Fire Service Achievement Awards

Award winners (l-r) Chief Freddy Johnson Sr., William Wren, and Parker Ketler with NVFC Chair Kevin D. Quinn.

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) honored the 2017 recipients of its annual achievement awards during a special banquet on April 7 as part of the NVFC spring meeting. Chief Freddy Johnson Sr. received the Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Rosenbauer; William Wren received the Fire Prevention and Education Award, sponsored by Nest; and Parker Ketler received the Junior Firefighter of the Year Award, sponsored by California Casualty.

“Every year I am amazed at the dedication and accomplishments achieved by the nominees for the NVFC’s annual awards program. The recipients of the 2017 awards are outstanding examples of the impact an individual can have on their fire department, their community, and the fire service as a whole,” said NVFC Chair Kevin D. Quinn.

“From Parker Ketler, who is starting his life in the fire service with amazing commitment and gusto, to William Wren who is devoted to keeping his community safe through education, to Chief Freddy Johnson Sr., who has spent over 40 years providing exceptional service to his community, these three current and future leaders are to be commended and applauded for their achievements.”

All three recipients thanked their families and departments for the support they have received along the way and emphasized that fire service accomplishments are truly a team effort.

In addition to the NVFC award, Ketler received a special recognition from his fire department colleague and stepfather, Lt. Bryan Bailey. Baily presented Ketler with a Medal of Exceptional Service on behalf of the Village of Sebring and the Sebring Fire Department.

As part of their award, all of the award winners received a trip to Alexandria to attend the presentation ceremony, complimentary registration for the NVFC spring meeting, and a personalized award.

Learn more about each of the award winners below.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Chief Freddy Johnson Sr.
Award sponsored by Rosenbauer America

NVFC Chairman Kevin Quinn presents Chief Freddy Johnson Sr. with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Chief Freddy Johnson, Sr., has served his community through the Stoney Point Volunteer Fire Department (SPVFD) in Fayetteville, NC, since 1976, where he quickly moved up the ranks to lead as Chief. The department has grown from less than 30 members and one station to over 100 members, mostly volunteer, at two stations, which now also offer rescue and emergency medical service. Johnson’s leadership at SPVFD guided the department to attain international accreditation with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International in 2012, a distinction further enhanced by a recent recommendation for reaccreditation, a status never before achieved by another volunteer department anywhere in the world.

In addition to his own department, Johnson presently serves as Emergency Services Director for the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office & Emergency Management, President of the Cumberland County Fire Chief’s Association, and a nominated member of the North Carolina Fire and Rescue Commission. In 2008, he served as a Homeland Security Fire Service Grant Peer Review member and, in the years following, he authored the applications for millions of dollars worth of Assistance to Firefighters Grants that vastly improved emergency communication capabilities within his state. He has received several Volunteer Chief of the Year awards from organizations including the International Association of Fire Chiefs, as well as Cumberland County Volunteer of the Year (1993), Young Deputy Sheriff of the Year (1988), and two state awards for volunteer service. Chief Johnson also received numerous awards and decorations during his service in the United States Army, where he retired as Sergeant Major after 23 years.

Chief Freddy Johnson Sr. (center) with NVFC SD Director and Rosenbauer America representative LeRoy Koopman (left) and NVFC Chair Kevin Quinn (right).

Fire Prevention and Education Award: William Wren
Award sponsored by Nest

William Wren accepts the
Fire Prevention and Education Award.

Firefighter William Wren, a 28-year member of the New Hartford (NY) Fire Department (NHFD), is well known for bringing fire safety messages to his community and adapting to the needs of various populations. After several years of targeting elementary school students, the NHFD Fire Prevention Program Committee realized that their educational programming should extend to junior high school and senior high school students. Wren developed several programs for the older students, covering topics such as fire extinguisher use, recognizing by-products of fire, and escaping from dangerous fire situations. He also developed a program specifically for high school seniors to address the unique aspects of fire prevention and dorm safety at college.

Wren also adapted programming to reach other groups within the community, such as day cares, preschools, Boy and Girl Scouts, and senior living facilities. To date, the fire prevention programs have reached over 2,500 students and 300 adults, not including those reached during special community-wide activities during Fire Prevention Month. For his service in his community and county, Wren was designated the 2016 Fire Safety Educator of the Year by the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, and he received the William G. Martin Iron Man of the Year award in 2011, one of the highest honors presented by his department.

William Wren (third from left) with the New York delegation.

Junior Firefighter of the Year Award: Parker Ketler
Award sponsored by California Casualty

Lt. Bryan Bailey (left) presents Parker Ketler with a Medal of Exceptional Service on behalf of the Village of Sebring and Sebring Fire Department.

As the stepson of a firefighter, Parker Ketler was a fixture around the Sebring (OH) Fire Department since childhood and was widely familiar with the field before the department’s Explorer Post was officially launched in 2010. Chief Brian Anderson said Ketler was the “obvious choice for president” when officers for the program were chosen. Ketler is described as hard working, eager to help, dedicated, morally upstanding, and ambitious. When he was young, he would watch all the department trainings, whether uneventful PowerPoint presentations or exciting hands-on demonstrations, soaking in every detail. Instead of filling his weekends with normal teenage activities, he was often found at the station helping with routine or mundane chores. As an Explorer, Ketler participated in a demonstration for other high schoolers on the dangers of distracted driving. His peers held him in high esteem, as evidenced by his election to prom king.

Ketler was engaged in his community, school, and Explorer program. He received several awards and accolades, including the Distinguished Volunteer Service Cross Commendation (2016) from the Village of Sebring, Basketball All League Honorable Mention, Alliance Elks Teen of the Month, and the Award of Excellence for Sportmanship, Ethics, and Integrity from the Ohio High School State Athletic Association. He is currently pursuing a degree in Fire Science at Columbus State University, where he has earned his Firefighter I and II certifications and is undergoing EMT training. Since the time of his nomination, he has joined the Sebring Fire Department as a firefighter and drives home each weekend from college to serve.

Parker Ketler (center) with Roxanne Dean of California Casualty and NVFC Chair Kevin Quinn.

Award Sponsors

About the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC)
The NVFC is the leading nonprofit membership association representing the interests of the volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services. The NVFC serves as the voice of the volunteer in the national arena and provides invaluable resources, programs, education, and advocacy for first responders across the nation. Learn more at www.nvfc.org.

About Nest
Nest’s mission is to create a home that’s thoughtful – one that takes care of itself and the people inside it. The company focuses on simple, beautiful, and delightful hardware, software, and services. The Nest Learning Thermostat™ and Nest Energy Services keep you comfortable and address home energy consumption. The Nest Protect™ smoke and carbon monoxide alarm helps keep you safe and Nest Safety Rewards lets you save money through participating home insurance providers, while Nest Cam™ keeps an eye on what matters most in your home. Nest products are sold in the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Belgium, Ireland, and the Netherlands and are installed in more than 190 countries. The Nest Learning Thermostat has helped save approximately four billion kWh of energy to date. Through the Works with Nest program, third-party products can securely connect with Nest devices to make homes safer, more energy efficient, and more aware. For more information, visit www.nest.com.

About California Casualty
Founded in 1914, California Casualty provides auto and home insurance to firefighters, peace officers, educators and nurses in 44 states. The company routinely maintains a 99 percent customer service rating and a 96 percent claims rating. Learn more about their exclusive coverage and discounts at www.calcas.com.

About Rosenbauer America
Rosenbauer is the world’s leading manufacturer of firefighting vehicles and equipment. With locations all over the globe, the North American operations are based in Lyons, South Dakota; Wyoming, Minnesota; and Fremont, Nebraska. Rosenbauer incorporates the international strength and innovation of a global company with top American manufacturing firms to build firefighters what they need to help keep their communities safe. For more information, visit www.rosenbaueramerica.com.