Conway firefighters go above and beyond to educate the public they serve.

Earlier this year, the department received the Fire and Emergency Services Society's Jon S. McMahan Service of the Year Award for its performance over the past year. What better honor than to receive an award named after one of its own?

The Fire and Emergency Medical Services Society’s Jon S. McMahan Service of the Year Award is bestowed upon departments that boast services that have significantly contributed to local, state and national provisions and also contribute to improving patients’ pre-hospital care. Such nominees for the Fire/EMS Service of the Year award must also show exceptional first response delivery.

This award was named after Jon Scott McMahan, a former Conway firefighter who died of stomach cancer at age 45 on Feb. 17, 2009.

McMahan served the CFD for 18 years and was the division chief of special operations. He was a nationally registered paramedic for 25 years and was named National Paramedic of the Year in 2001.

The annual award is open to all departments across the state. This year, the Conway Fire Department earned the Fire/EMS (Jon S. McMahan) Service of the Year award. Conway firefighters accepted the award at the 2018 Arkansas Emergency Medical Technician Association conference in April.

Without a doubt in my mind, there is no other department more deserving of this honor.

Members of the Conway fire family continue growing throughout the year. And, they don't limit furthering education to within the department but instead branch out through a number of community outreach means to ensure Conway residents know what to do in the event of a fire.

National Fire Prevention Week ended yesterday, Oct. 13. While national prevention education was highlighted throughout the week, it is a spotlight for Conway firefighters throughout the year.

It's truly a blessing to have those responding to our needs that also continue proving how much they care through educating the public. Earlier this week, Conway firefighters began making rounds to elementary schools across Conway to perform their annual fire prevention and safety puppet show. As children learn safety techniques such as when to "stop, drop and roll," knowing to check smoke detectors at their homes frequently and planning the best routes to escape house fires. The Conway Fire Department will continue making rounds to elementary schools to teach fire safety for the next two weeks.

I was happy to witness firsthand the joy on children's faces at Jim Stone Elementary School on Friday as they anxiously awaited for the puppet show to begin.

With help from local businesses, the fire department also keeps smoke detectors stocked at the station for those in need. Fire trucks that make life-saving runs also have smoke detectors on deck so that families who don't have one or whose detectors are not working properly can receive a smoke detector at no cost.

Why do they do this? Because they care. More than once, our local firefighters have explained to me that they strive to educate others on safety and want to leave a positive impression on all they come across. And, they do.

I believe the Conway Fire Department sets a number of standards for other departments across the state to follow through their passion and drive to serve and do their best for the community they serve. They're a welcoming bunch, and they are experts when it comes to fighting fires, saving lives and educating and inspiring others.

Know of a local resident who deserves recognition, have a question regarding a Faulkner County issue or want to provide a news tip? Contact Log Cabin Democrat reporter Marisa Hicks via email at mhicks@thecabin.net or by phone at 501-505-1277. Hicks has served on the LCD’s team for three years as the local crime reporter.