SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The Savannah Fire Department honored its best and brightest for outstanding service and heroism during their annual award ceremony.
Savannah Fire Chief Derik Minard presented awards and recognized retired personnel at Thursday’s event.
This year’s event was sponsored by Eastern Wharf. Special awards were presented to firefighters who demonstrated exceptional bravery during the Eastern Wharf fire in February of last year and made the rooftop trench cuts that diverted the flames from the northern end of the building.
“It’s an honor to be here and award a whole host of people that are very deserving,” Minard said. “When people are promoted or they have an accomplishment such as the unit commendations or the fitness awards or retirements, it’s important we acknowledge their service and what they’ve accomplished.”
Several units were awarded commendation ribbons for heroic action taken throughout the year, including rescuing residents from a burning building, reviving a patient with no pulse, and saving an unresponsive person from a vehicle.
“They literally save lives every day they come to work,” Minard said. “When they show up at the fire station, they never know what they’re going to be up against. They are prepared at the highest level of training to act.”
Minard told WSAV Ben Spence, a 19-year veteran of the Savannah Fire Department, was named Firefighter of the Year because of his dedication and critical thinking in emergency situations.
“This is the most prestigious award I’ve gotten other than the valor award,” Spence said. “This is quite an honor to get this from your peers.”
“We’re a family first and foremost because we have each other’s backs,” he added. “We’re out there on the street and we never know what to expect every day. Each day we come into the job and we have each other’s backs and we know that.”
Find a full list of honorees HERE.