Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 2:28 PM on Monday, April 2, 2012

Firefighters, emergency medical responders recognized

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer

The stress at Saturday night's annual awards dinner for the Anchor Point Fire and Emergency Medical Service Area wasn't from responding to calls for help. It came when Acting Chief Kayt Andrews introduced the training portion of the evening, a "name that body part" exercise that had Andrews laughing as firefighters, EMTs and dispatchers tried to locate some well-known, but mostly obscure body parts.

Other than that, the event at the Anchor Point Senior Center was all about honoring the efforts of service area volunteers.

Starting the program was volunteer and two-time Iraq veteran Britian Totemoff, who played "The Star Spangled Banner" on his guitar.

Brad Nelson of Central Emergency Services was the evening's guest speaker. Nelson was introduced by Robin Proctor, the service area chair, as "kind of Anchor Point's big brother" for his role as liaison between the service area and the administration of the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

"It's been a privilege to work with this department," said Nelson. "I have a soft spot in my heart for volunteers, for you guys. ╔ Thank God for what you do. And thank you for letting me come in and help in anyway I can. You guys are special."

Recognized at the event were:

• Top fire responders: Robert Gaedecke, Keith Sullivan, Benjamin "Fritz" Elefritz, Jim Dress, Cindy Munsell, Mike Wallace, Connie Prouty, Dave Matthews and Cassandra Parkinson;

• Dispatchers: Lora Craig; Sandy Dress; Pat Ligenza; June Picard; Robert Rutan; Jolyene Soplanda; Maureen Tracy; and Jeri Trail who began dispatching with the Anchor Point service area, but now is a dispatcher for the Homer Police Department;

• Rookie of the Year: Dave Matthews;

• Chief's Choice Award: Robert Gaedecke;

• Special Award: Britian Totemoff;

• EMS of the Year: Dave Matthews;

• Firefighter of the Year: Robert Gaedecke;

• Support person of the year: June Picard;

• Special presentation from volunteers in honor of Andrews;

• Anchor Point Fire Department Memorial Award: Connie Prouty.

A historical perspective of the service area's development, beginning with attempts to form a firefighting team in the 1970s, was given by Bob Craig, president of the volunteer emergency responder organization. The service area was established in 1983 and now includes the station in Anchor Point and a sub station at Nikolaevsk.

Craig also announced that an individual has been interviewed for the service area's position of chief, which has been vacant since Ben Maxon resigned in November. Without naming the individual, Craig said the interviewee would be presented to the service area board soon.

"And then a new chapter will begin," said Craig.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.