Lake Dillon Fire recognizes longtime firefighters
“In each tragic situation, every photo you see, in every paragraph you read, there will be firefighters,” Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue vice president Robert Sollenberger read an excerpt from a book, clutching a medal his grandfather earned from his days as a volunteer firefighter.
“I know he would be as proud of you folks as I am today,” he said.
Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue honored many longtime staff members on Saturday at the department’s annual awards ceremony.
Among the honorees, Steve Wantuck was awarded Firefighter of the Year, for the numerous hours he dedicated to the department.
“Steve has shown an ongoing commitment to the integrity of inspections,” Lake Dillon Fire chief Jeff Berino said.
Assistant chief Steve Skulski was the recipient of the Leadership Award, for his work as one of “the unsung heroes behind the scenes.”
“He’s looking out for his officers’ safety,” Berino added.
Firefighter Aaron Ferdig and office assistant Donna Trainer received the Chief’s Award, and the Silverthorne Police Department also received a special commendation for its annual Safe Summer Kickoff and Adopt an Angel programs.
“The talent in this room amazes me,” Berino said. “Look at our longevity; we are doing something right.”
He added that in the last year, the department had seen some changes, including a 10 percent increase in calls and an addition in cross staffing with the Summit County Ambulance Service.
“We had to deal with the largest wildfire here in decades and a fatal helicopter crash,” he added. “There have been some challenges.”
Berino also received an award for 35 years of service with the department. He started his career as a volunteer firefighter with the Frisco Fire Department, which later became a part of Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue.
Assistant chief Bruce Farrell was recognized for 30 years of service, after having started his career with the Snake River Fire Protection District, working alongside Berino as a volunteer with the Summit County Ambulance Service.
“That takes some fortitude,” Berino said. “He’s been great to have on the team and as my right hand man.”
The 25-year award went to battalion chief Shaun Sawyer, who launched his career in Silverthorne prior to merging into Lake Dillon Fire.
“They had some really good fires in Silverthorne, and Frisco enjoyed helping put them out,” Berino laughed.
Other longevity awards included:
Fire Corps Volunteer John Young, for 20 years of service
Firefighter/technician Ken Jones, Lt. Kevin Skaer and Lt. Matt Brewer, for 15 years of service
Firefighter/technician Aaron Ferdig and Firefighter/medic Andrew Segura, for 10 years of service
Firefighters/medics August Guettlein and Case Byl, Fire Corps volunteer Dan Myers and custodians Glenda Daniels and Cherllyn Goldsberry, for five years of service.
“Our future’s bright and you’re all a part of that,” Berino concluded. “Thank you, and stay safe.”
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