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The Jacksonville Fire Department held its first annual Awards Ceremony on Friday April 11, 2014. The ceremony was attended by Mayor Fletcher and his wife, Glenda; Alderman Kenny Elliot, Alderman Bill Howard, Dr. James E. Bolden III, and his wife Dr. Cynthia Bolden. Dr. James E. Bolden, III, also a Jacksonville Alderman, delivered a moving key note speech on the importance of public safety professionals and the job they perform. Several firefighters were awarded including: Jeff Singleton, 2013 Firefighter of the Year; Drew Cargile as the 2013 Paramedic of the Year; Lt. Jason Riggs as the 2013 Fire Officer of the Year; and Capt. David Jones as the recipient of the John M. Vanderhoof Award for Outstanding Performance and dedication to the Jacksonville Fire Department.
The Department also awarded individuals and Units for their actions on the March 19, 2012 incident where Fire Capt. Donnie Jones, Fire Lt. Jason Bowmaster, and Police Officer Daniel Dimatteo were struck by a vehicle. Capt. Donnie Jones was fatally injured. Officer Dimatteo was awarded a Certificate of Merit for performing his duties under extreme duress, while severely injured, and calmly calling for assistance that undoubtedly saved the life of Lieutenant Jason Bowmaster. Additionally, Meritorious Unit Commendations were awarded to Green Shift Engine Company 1, Medic 1, Medic 2, and Medic 3, for providing emergency care to other first responders while still monitoring a strong gas leak from the initial accident. The firefighters assigned to these units were Capt. Dewey Coy, Firefighter/EMT Jonathan Thompson, Firefighter/Paramedic Ray Brazzell, Firefighter/EMT Adam Jones, Firefighter/Paramedic James Hurley, Firefighter/EMT Stoney White, Lieutenant Robert Hazeslip, and Firefighter/Paramedic Andy Bates.
The Firefighters Life Saving Award was given to Paramedic James Hurley for performing outside the scope of a normal response as he responded to personnel from his own department and shift and was called upon to care for the dead and injured. Hurley demonstrated outstanding Paramedic skills, courage, and professionalism while making critical and timely decisions that ultimately saved Lt. Bowmaster’s life.
Lieutenant Jason Bowmaster was the recipient of the Fire Department Purple Heart for actions and wounds received as a responding member of Engine Company Number 4, to Alarm 12-0787 on 19 March 2012.
The event was supported by donations from First Arkansas Bank and Trust, Centennial Bank, Kroger, and the families of first responders from Jacksonville and Sherwood Fire Departments.