NVFC Honors Award Winners at Fall Meeting
October 19, 2021
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) honored four of its annual fire service achievement award winners at its fall board meeting in Jackson, WY, on October 15 during a special celebration luncheon.
Tom Miller, NVFC director from West Virginia, was presented with the E. James Monihan Director Award, sponsored by Provident. The award recognizes current or former board members whose remarkable achievements on the NVFC board exemplify outstanding performance and have gone above normal expectations.
Asst. Chief Theodore Schroll Jr. received the Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by ADT. The award honors an individual who has been a volunteer firefighter for at least 20 years and whose remarkable achievements in the fire service and community exemplify outstanding performance. In addition, ADT announced it is making a $10,000 donation to Schroll’s department – the Wethersfield (CT) Fire Department – as well as a $10,000 donation to the NVFC to further support their initiatives.
Captain Robert James received the James P. Seavey Sr. Health and Wellness Leadership Award, sponsored by VFIS and Ward Diesel Filter Systems. The award honors a volunteer firefighter, EMS provider, or rescue worker who has served as a leader in creating or promoting emergency responder health and wellness programs or initiatives. Although he was unable to attend in person, James provided recorded remarks to accept the award.
Paige Davis was awarded the Junior Firefighter of the Year Award, sponsored by California Casualty. This award honors a junior firefighter who has gone above and beyond in their service to their fire department.
“We appreciate the service, dedication, and commitment of all of our award winners,” said NVFC chair Steve Hirsch. “Along with our award sponsors, we are pleased to recognize this distinguished group of honorees for their work to make their departments, communities, and the fire service better.”
The NVFC also gives out a junior firefighter program of the year award, sponsored by California Casualty, which will be presented to the Colonia (NJ) Fire Department’s Explorer Post at a local ceremony later this year so that all program members have the opportunity to attend.
Learn more about the honorees recognized during the awards luncheon below.
James Monihan Director Award
Sponsored by Provident
Tom Miller is a 36-year fire service veteran, having joined the Sissonville (WV) Volunteer Fire Department in 1985, where he now serves as an instructor and on the department’s board of directors. In addition to volunteering, Miller is an adjunct instructor at the West Virginia University Fire Service Extension and privacy and security officer with the state of West Virginia.
Since becoming the NVFC’s director from West Virginia in 2008, Miller’s knowledge and passion for health, safety, and protecting responders from hazardous materials have proven invaluable. He has gone above and beyond in his serve to the organization and the nation’s volunteer responders. In a partnership with between the NVFC and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, he worked to develop the Fire Department Pipeline Response, Emergency Planning, and Preparedness (FD-PREPP) Toolkit. This free resource is designed to enhance the safety of firefighters by providing first response organizations with information, tools, and resources that they can use in the planning, training, and response aspects of a pipeline incident. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Miller stepped up to lead the NVFC’s Pandemic Response Task Force and spearheaded the development of the NVFC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Transport Safety Guide, which provides guidance to emergency responders transporting and/or storing one of the coronavirus vaccines at ultra-low temperatures.
Miller currently chairs the NVFC’s Hazmat Response Committee and serves on the Health, Safety, and Training, Homeland Security, and Standards and Codes committees. He has been instrumental in expanding the NVFC’s partnership with TRANSCAER to provide hazmat safety resources to first responders and received the TRANSCAER Individual Recognition Award for his efforts.
He also represents the NVFC on the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Hazmat Response Personnel technical committee and was the driving force behind the NVFC appointing representatives to the NFPA technical committee that deals with technical rescue. Additionally, Miller actively works with West Virginia’s congressional delegation to educate them on the challenges posed to the state’s volunteer fire service by the pandemic and the importance of AFG and SAFER grants.
Ret. Asst. Chief Theodore “Ted” Schroll Jr.
NVFC Lifetime Achievement Award
Sponsored by ADT
Asst. Chief Ted Schroll has never “just belonged” to anything he has been involved with. Schroll is a dedicated fire service volunteer and works hard on any assignment to make things better. He joined Wethersfield (CT) Fire Department in 1960, working his way up from firefighter to acting chief, and his energy and dedication are just as strong in 2021.
Although Schroll retired as acting chief in 1999, he remains an active member of the department. He has shared his knowledge within his local department, the Connecticut State Firefighters Association (CSFA), and at the Connecticut state capitol. He has served in all the executive positions for the state association, as well as serving as CSFA’s legislative representative for over 25 years. Due to his thorough understanding of the legislative process, he was able to represent CSFA without missing a beat during the COVID pandemic and switch to online meetings.
Prior to the pandemic, Schroll spent countless hours at the state capitol representing CSFA and the fire service. He has been aggressive to secure not only legislation, but also funding for construction and rehabilitation of Connecticut’s regional fire schools. Schroll was instrumental, along with Chief John McAuliffe, in securing state legislation that prohibits career departments from forbidding their employees from volunteering in the communities they live. Due to his legislative expertise, Schroll has been a resource to many other state fire associations as well as the NVFC for legislative questions or concerns.
Schroll also currently serves as CSFA’s assistant secretary and credentials committee chair. He is pivotal in organizing the yearly convention and makes it a family affair with his wife, children, and even grandson assisting the credentials committee at the convention.
Schroll was inducted into the Connecticut State Firefighters Hall of Fame in 2010. In addition to his work in the fire service, he served active duty in the United States Air Force until 1960 and is a past president of the New England Section of the International Municipal Signalman’s Association (IMSA). Schroll has exemplified commitment and dedication to the fire service on the local, state, and national levels for over 61 years and will continue to do so for many more.
Captain Robert “RJ” James
NVFC Chief James P. Seavey Sr. Health and Wellness Leadership Award
Co-sponsored by VFIS and Ward Diesel Filter Systems
Captain Robert James is a 20-year veteran of the fire service. He started as a volunteer firefighter with the Cromwell (CT) Volunteer Fire Department before relocating to Maryland where he joined the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department (RVFD), one of the busiest fire stations in Montgomery County. In addition to volunteering, James is a full-time employee of the Frederick County Fire Rescue (FCFR) Division, Rescue Squad 3, where he leads the Advanced Technical Rescue Team. In July 2021 he was promoted to lieutenant.
As a volunteer, James has received numerous citations and awards from the RVFD and the state of Maryland. He hit the ground running, receiving his first award on his first week on the job after making a life-saving rescue. His service and dedication have not slowed since. He is a mentor to young firefighters and EMTs, making safety his top priority.
James is an expert in many areas, including firefighter survival and rescue and hazardous materials operations, but he is especially proficient in technical rescue and trench operations. He uses his extensive knowledge and skill to mentor new recruits and seasoned professionals. He takes the utmost care in teaching them the necessary skills, while at the same time making their personal safety the primary factor in every aspect of his training programs. James travels across the country teaching, training, and mentoring. In his spare time, he has a podcast where he discusses best practices for firefighter safety.
Because of James’ commitment to his craft and the training that he provides, his fellow firefighters are safer and smarter, which allows them to better deal with the incidents they face. It also makes them safer and better able to protect themselves now to prevent physical or heath issues later in life. He is a natural leader, which is why he is such a successful firefighter, EMT, trainer, and mentor. James is an inspiration to all who know him and always has his fellow firefighters’ safety and wellness at the forefront of everything he does.
NVFC Junior Firefighter of the Year
Sponsored by California Casualty
“Servant Leadership” was the title of one of Paige Davis’ recent speeches to her cadets, and that leadership philosophy is befitting for her. She is the first to step up, help, pitch-in, and teach – even if there is no recognition. Davis always cheers for her competition, does the right thing, and acts with honesty and integrity.
When Davis joined the junior program at Hackberry Township Fire Department (Bartlett, KS) on her 12th birthday, it was amid a major transition of juniors graduating into regular firefighter positions. This gap created the need for someone to step up and learn to lead, and Davis answered that call. Throughout this period, the community suffered from a prolific arsonist and experienced several of the worst fires in its history. Keeping safety at the forefront, Davis and other juniors were called upon to assist the department in many ways during this intense time until the arsonist was caught. Davis then helped the junior program transition back from “busy” to “normal” by keeping members active and involved. When the COVID pandemic hit and everything changed once again, Davis was a vital force in helping the department respond to the new challenges.
Davis has led the department’s Cadet & Junior Apprentice Firefighter Program since 2019. She is actively involved in many department activities, including training, mentoring, and recruiting cadets; installing smoke detectors; assisting with fire prevention education; maintaining the department’s PPE inventory tracking system; and managing department technology including Active911, group chats, and video meetings. She is also a member of an advisory board that is developing a 25-year plan for the department’s future.
Even off-duty, Davis always does what she can to help others. On May 10, 2020, her quick actions saved the life of a toddler who was wondering in the middle of a roadway when she and her father were driving by. She is actively involved in organizations that work to strengthen and reinforce a sense of community, responsibility, and service, including 4H, FFA, and Civil Air Patrol. As an incoming high school senior, accomplished athlete, and barrel racer with world standings, she encourages others to be involved with their communities during her travels.
About the National Volunteer Fire Council
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 critical resources, programs, education, and advocacy for first responders across the nation. Learn more at www.nvfc.org.
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