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Tri-district firefighters receive awards

East Pierce Fire and Rescue named the recipients of the 2006 Recognition Awards at a recent banquet for members of the district and their families April 1.

The banquet was held at Swiss Park and included firefighters from Pierce County Fire District No. 12, South Prairie Fire District No. 20 and East Pierce Fire and Rescue. Collectively known as the Tri-District, they serve the residents of Bonney Lake, Lake Tapps, South Prairie, Foothills, Wilkeson and the Ridge communities.

For the first time, firefighters from Sumner and District 1 also participated in the event.

“These awards are particularly meaningful because the firefighters themselves nominate the winners,” East Pierce Fire and Rescue Chief Dan Packer said. The single exception is the chief's company award, which is determined by the command staff.

For the second year in a row Bob McDonald was named Volunteer Officer of the Year. Career Officer of the Year was awarded to Capt. Pat Beers.

Terry Richardson was named Volunteer Firefighter of the Year. She also received the Ken Thawsh Inspirational Award and was acknowledged for responding to more than 500 alarms in 2005, the most of any volunteer.

The Career Firefighter of the Year is William Poe. Poe served as an East Pierce volunteer for three years before being hired last June.

Vance Mettlen received the Emergency Medical Services Provider of the Year award. Packer noted that one of the firefighters nominating Mettlen wrote that he was “the best medic I've worked with hands down.”

Doug Walker received the Mike Roberts Goodwill Award. The award was named for East Pierce firefighter Mike Roberts, who retired last year, and is presented to the firefighter who has done the most to embody selfless service.

The Chief's Company included Sara Arneson, Zane Gibson, Doug Hinkle, McDonald, Mark Nevill and Jason Sanders.

James Parke was recognized as the volunteer who attended the most drills last year. The annual Fitness Award went to Brian O'Leary.

Packer also presented service recognition pins honoring local firefighters for their years of service. They included Dave Jackson, who was recognized for 30 years of service, Layne Ross who has been with the fire service for 33 years and Chief Jake Doty, who has served the area for 43 years.

The Tri-District covers approximately 130 square miles and protects more than 60,000 residents. Career firefighters staff four stations, backed by six volunteer stations. All career and volunteer firefighters are also either paramedics or emergency medical technicians who respond to fire, rescue and medical emergencies.

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