East Pierce Assistant Chief Russ McCallion and Fire Commissioner Dale Mitchell take home awards
January 14, 2013 · 3:59 PM
East Pierce Fire and Rescue took home both of the top honors at the annual banquet of the Pierce County Fire Chiefs' and Fire Commissioners' Association on Dec. 6 at the Tacoma Country Club.
Assistant Chief Russ McCallion was named the "2012 Chief Officer of the Year" and presented with the "Chief Dan Packer Memorial" award; and East Pierce Fire Commissioner Dale Mitchell was presented with the prestigious "Bill Jarmon Lifetime Achievement Award".
The "Chief Officer of the Year" award was created in memory of Fire Chief Dan Packer, who died during a California wild fire in 2008. In his memory, the annual award is given to the chief who "displays the high integrity, care, and compassion towards his/her department and citizens they serve while exceeding the expectations of peers and portraying the positive image for the Pierce County Fire Chiefs' Association".
The Chiefs' noted that McCallion has demonstrated the integrity, care, compassion and professionalism that are the hallmarks of this award.
"Russ' accomplishments, while not often recognized are numerous and demonstrate a passion for the job that goes above and beyond the normal call of duty," said Pierce County Fire Chiefs' Association President John McDonald.
Among McCallion's many achievements, McDonald said, was his role in developing Pierce County's reputation as a recognized leader in EMS in the State of Washington.
"As one of the original designers of the Pierce County Paramedic Airway Management (PAM) course, Russ was instrumental in the development of the original curriculum and subsequent curriculum updates for both providers and instructors."
Statistical analysis has shown that Pierce County paramedics have increased proficiency and reduced secondary complications often caused by endotracheal intubation, as a result of the program. Based on its success, the course is being considered for use in other counties.
"While Russ' accomplishments may not be evident to many because he works quietly in the background, they are exactly the reason that Chief Dan Packer hired Assistant Chief Russ McCallion at East Pierce Fire and Rescue back in 2003," McDonald said.
The award came as a surprise to McCallion.
"I'm successful because I have the support of my colleagues at work," he said. "I'm also lucky to work with motivated EMS chiefs across Pierce County. Together we are able to accomplish a lot."
Previously McCallion worked as EMS chief for the San Francisco (Calif.) Fire Department. He said the award was particularly meaningful since it was Packer who brought him to Washington.
The "Bill Jarmon Lifetime Achievement Award" is named in honor of William "Bill" Jarmon, an exceptionally involved fire commissioner for Gig Harbor Fire and Medic One. The annual award is given to the fire commissioner who most embodies Jarmon's community involvement and dedication to the fire service.
Mitchell is only the second person to receive the award. The first was Jarmon himself, when the award was created last year.
Mitchell has been a fire commissioner since 1989, first with the Edgewood Fire Department, then with East Pierce when Edgewood merged with that department in 2010.
Mitchell has served as past president of the Pierce County Fire Commissioners' Association and the Washington State Fire Commissioners' Association. He is currently involved on a number of committees for the Pierce County Association and is the legislative liaison.
Both awards will be displayed at the East Pierce headquarters station for a year.