The Arkansas House of Representatives recognized two Faulkner County fire chiefs at an awards ceremony Thursday night, hosted by the Faulkner County Office of Emergency Management.
Rep. Eddie Hawkins presented House citations to Pine Village Fire Chief Larry Brewer and Vilonia Fire Chief Keith Hillman in recognition of achievements that this year earned them awards from the Arkansas Association of Fire Chiefs and Arkansas Fire Academy.
"Without you, a lot of these communities would be non-existent," Hawkins said to the group of firefighters in attendance at the Faulkner County OEM quarterly fire chiefs meeting.
Hillman was recognized by the House for being named training instructor of the year by the Arkansas Fire Academy.
"(Fire academy staff) were so impressed with his quality of instruction and his willingness to go above and beyond in these classes," Hawkins said.
"I couldn’t have done it without all these guys," Hillman said upon receiving the award, referring to his fellow Vilonia firemen.
Brewer was recognized by the House for his work with the Arkansas Firefighters Memorial sculpture, for which he received the Sewell Award from the Arkansas Association of Fire Chiefs. The sculpture was displayed in Conway during this year’s Toad Suck Daze. He has been a fireman for more than 37 years, and also serves as the Faulkner County OEM deputy director and as the county’s fire coordinator.
In Brewer’s office hangs a colorized print of a black-and-white photograph of him engulfed in flames taken in 1979 by then-Log Cabin Democrat photographer Lil Junas. Brewer said the photo, taken during an intense fire at Sun Pipe Line Co., has proven a good tool for raising awareness and funding for firefighter issues.
Faulkner County OEM deputy director Dirk Sutterfield was also badly burned in the Sun Pipe Line fire and, like Brewer, is a retired Conway Fire Department firefighter.
Damascus Fire Chief Danny Mahan was named Fire Chief of the Year by Faulkner County OEM director Shelia Maxwell, and received a new communications radio for his department.
Maxwell said Mahan was picked as the first recipient of what will be a yearly award for fire chiefs who go above and beyond in service to and cooperation with Faulkner County OEM.
(Staff writer Joe Lamb can be reached at 505-1238 or by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit.)