Fairview Fire Department Presented Annual Awards
Captain Donald Ray was presented the Officer of the Year Award and firefighter Chris Barber was presented Firefighter of the Year Award by the Fairview Fire Department. Votes are cast by all Fairview FD personnel (from both stations), including volunteers and part-time employees. Captain Ray has been a firefighter for seven years. He has served with Fairview FD for seven years, first as a volunteer, then part-time and full time for the past five years. Firefighter Chris Barber has been a firefighter for 14 years and with Fairview FD for a little over a year. Neither Ray nor Barber had ever received this award before this year.
Ray explains that as a captain, he manages personnel including firefighters. When on a call he will lay out a plan, and provide the strategies and tactics needed to be performed by the firefighters to get the job done. In predictable firefighter humbleness, he and Barber did not know why they were chosen to be this year’s award recipients. Ray did share the criteria he used when casting his ballot for Officer of the Year, “I voted for a person who trains consistently with his crew and keeps the crew safe to the best of their ability.”
Barber said he voted for someone who was a hard worker and good to be around. He said that it has been nice to hear, “I always saw you as a hard worker. That’s why I voted for you.” He said in the short time he has been at Fairview FD, he has found the department easy to adjust to and to fit in. He said the community exhibits much more gratitude (sometimes verbal, sometimes accompanied with cakes and pies) than he was accustomed to in previous departments.
Ray said he knew he wanted to be a firefighter when he was a teenager, but he didn’t pursue it right away. He said, “This job is geared toward my personality. I like to fix things. Whether medical calls, structure fires, vehicle accidents… if something is broken, I like to fix it.”
Barber said he chose this career because he thought it would be exciting and not routine. He said this has definitely been the case. He said, “I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t do this. I don’t think I’d want to do anything else.”
They both addressed the fact that they help people on what might be the worst day of their lives. Barber points out that by comparison, a person’s emergency might be relatively minimal, but he realizes that they are afraid and he talks to them with compassion and helps them feel that everything will be ok.
They detail what type of person makes a good firefighter, Ray said, “Someone who has a positive attitude, strong work ethic, willing to learn, has a heart to help others and has a voice of calm in a panicked situation.” Barber said, “Willingness to work hard, give it 100% every day, have an overall knowledge of everything related to firefighting, be a team player, maintain physical strength to do your job and work well with many different types of people.”
Ray said, “I love my crew and love coming to work.” He sees himself as someone who works for his crew. He wants to keep them safe and trains with them regularly. Barber said that it is important to get along with the other firefighters and work as a team in all activities from mopping the station to fighting a fire. He said, “This is like your second family. You want a happy place to spend that time.”