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Firefighter of the Year

An individual who embodies those characteristics and skills which exemplify excellence in firefighting and emergency medical services in addition to consistently demonstrating characteristics and attitudes that promote and nurture excellence in team and department.

Photo of Jessi Nemens, Engineer

Jessi Nemens, Engineer

Jessi Nemens, Engineer

Engineer Nemens has been professionally and compassionately serving our community and our department at an extremely high level for the last nine years. Engineer Nemens works hard on shift, off duty with volunteer programs, as our Fitness Committee Chair, a peer support member, mentoring younger firefighters, and many other areas. She does all this while having been on the busiest unit in our department for the majority of her young career. She is knowledgeable, respectful, and kind-hearted. She is deserving of this award.



Officer of the Year

An individual who embodies those characteristics and skills which exemplify excellence in leadership and an individual who exemplifies characteristics and attitudes that promote and nurture excellence in team and department.

Photo of Brian Carson

Brian Carson, Battalion Chief

Brian Carson, Battalion Chief

Brian Carson exemplifies the traits of Servant Leadership while in his role as an Operations Battalion Chief. He is always there to help others. He displays high integrity and honesty, leads by example, and models our core values.

Chief Carson genuinely supports the development of others in the department. He has taken the time to help other firefighters and officers, whether it is preparing them for a Promotional Exam, running them through Fire Scenarios, or discussing department best practices. Chief Carson is a trusted leader that places a high value on professional development.



Employee of the Year

A civilian department member who consistently and with a high degree of excellence, exemplifies the best of the organization in actions and attitude and an individual who exemplifies characteristics and attitudes that promote and nurture excellence in team and department.

Diane Brown, Courier

Diane exemplifies excellence every day with her reliability, enthusiasm and her willingness to take on any task to ensure the high standards and function required within our organization. Diane is a proven team player with the ability to adapt to any task needing attention, in turn keeping our organization moving forward. Taking on additional roles and longer work days in the Logistics unit benefited the organization through all departments. Her work ethic and positive attitude are always appreciated and valued on a daily basis.



Distinguished Service

Individuals who are honored for their dedication, leadership, and significant contributions to advance the goals of the fire department.

Photo of Geoff Emly

Geoff Emly, Engineer

Geoff Emly, Engineer

Geoff demonstrates thoughtfulness, conscientiousness, determination, and initiative in the performance of duty on a daily basis.  He is the first to complete all daily tasks no matter how mundane.  He constantly strives to repair and remedy all varieties of issues encountered with apparatus and station deficiencies.  He is compassionate, professional, and knowledgeable on all EMS, service, and fire calls.  He is first in, and always prepared.  This was recently demonstrated at a fire call at Soos Creek Mobile Estates.  He was on the nozzle, assessed the best access point, first in, first water on the fire, locating the occupant, and extricating the patient within the first few minutes of entry.  He is a pleasure to work with.  Geoff always maintains a positive attitude, good humor, and an energy level that is highly contagious.


Pat Pawlak, Division Chief

Photo of Pat Pawlak

Pat Pawlak, Division Chief

Pat is a key member of the Washington State Local Assistance State Team tasked with supporting fire departments in the State of Washington after the death of a firefighter.  Pat’s responsibilities on the team involve coordinating the planning meetings, assisting members of the department by helping them understand and fulfill their duties and then coordinating the venue that the service will be held at.  His role is extremely labor intensive and requires a tremendous amount of time and attention to detail.  He spends hours detailing out service and procession plans and then the day of the service, is there all day working to make sure everything is perfect and done well.  During the week it takes to plan a service, Pat continues to fulfill his normal duties at work.  He is in the office very early and stays late to make sure everything is being taken care of.  Pat has coordinated services all over the State of Washington as well as services in Prescott, Arizona for the 19 firefighters that died in the wild land fires.  Pat has brought a great amount of recognition to the Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority and has lead literally hundreds of firefighters in honoring their fallen brothers.


Photo of Ron Sweigard

Ron Sweigard, Engineer

Ron Sweigard, Engineer    

Engineer Ron Sweigard has worked for the department for 31 years, with the majority of those spent at one of the busiest station in the district.  As senior engineer, Ron is in a position to mentor, coach and teach other drivers, and he does so with patience and enthusiasm.  He has trained several firefighters to become Acting Engineers and been instrumental in an Actor promoted to Engineer.

Ron always makes a point to ride Officer for a few shifts with each new firefighter, passing along his technical knowledge and street smarts to them.  This knowledge share is priceless and a benefit to the new firefighter.   His common sense approach to problem solving is an asset to the crew and the fire department.

Ron has been instrumental in building the Rescue Boat program, from a porous inflatable boat to an outboard boat.  He is an instructor and trainer for the safe operation of boat in rivers and lakes for the department and Zone 3.  When he attends outside training, Ron brings the information back and then shares it with team members.

Engineer Sweigard’s commitment to the firefighters and department over the years, makes him a perfect candidate for this award.

Unit Citations

Engine 72

Captain Ian Bird, Engineer Jesse Wise, Firefighter Matt Roubound

A nomination for crew of Engine 72 for their actions while at the scene of a house fire that occurred June 27th and involved rescue of a quadriplegic man from the second floor of the residence.

The E72 crew of Captain Ian Bird, Engineer Jesse Wise, and Firefighter Matt Roubound were dispatched initially to a single engine response to a “shack fire” and the call was upgraded while in route.

The crew arrived on scene well before any other units and was faced with a house fire that had burnt up the siding of the house and into the attic. Dispatch advised that there was a trapped occupant on the second floor and with that information Cpt. Bird and FF Roubound took a hose line to the second floor and rescued the man by removing him down the stairs and out of the house. After the rescue and handing the victim off to another crew E72 returned to the second floor and helped to extinguish the attic fire which was by now fully involved.

Quint 75

AIC Captain Matsuoka, Engineer Geoff Emly, Engineer Bob Tonda

Q75 responded to a residential fire at 15410 SE 272 St and rescued an unconscious occupant from the burning home. Upon arriving at the scene, AIC Capt. Matsuoka was informed by bystanders that someone might be inside the burning structure. Matsuoka immediately declared “rescue mode” and entered the structure with his 3rd person -Engineer Geoff Emly- to search the home. Emly was on the nozzle with Matsuoka assisting and Engineer Tonda was securing a water supply and delivering water to the fire-attack team. The two members advanced the nozzle into position and knocked down the main body of fire. They made a quick search and discovered a person lying on the floor in the living room of the home. Emly reached down and grabbed the fire victim and dragged him out of the structure, handing him to an awaiting EMS crew. Emly then returned inside the home with his captain to finish fire extinguishment and overhaul. The crews on the outside performed CPR and the patient was transported to HMC.

Fire Garage

Eric Heintzinger, Tom Arnson, Wayne Yotsuuye, Jason Theuret, Sean Green, Dave Conner, Austin Guss, Simon Nielson, Austin Stocker, Morgan DeHan, Mark Jones

2016 was a challenging year for the fire garage.  The mechanics completed 747 work orders during this time. While many of these are repairs and preventative maintenance projects that may last several weeks at a time, the vast majority are unscheduled drop-ins that keep apparatus in-service by handling the repair at the time of discovery. These require quick diagnosis and repair by the mechanic to lessen the impact to the crew and our customers by lowering out-of-service for the apparatus. The mechanics complete drop-ins without complaint and fully understood the need to get apparatus back in their first-due area as soon as possible. They often work through breaks, lunches, and past the end of the work day to complete necessary repairs. And then look for one more thing they can fix on that piece of equipment.

2016 saw many emergency-callbacks for service by one and sometimes teams of mechanics who without any notice leave their families to come into work and repair apparatus so the crews do not need to swap out and so our reserve fleet is always available. They may show up on the road side in the rain, the station, or the shop to complete repairs but it is always done without complaint and with a sense of urgency.

Each person in the fire garage team exemplifies the division moto of “Safe, Reliable, and Ready to Serve” and considers themselves part of the firefighting company. They are dedicated to providing every vehicle operator in the department, from engineer to battalion chief to fire inspector to logistics courier, with a vehicle that is safe to drive, will reliably work on an emergency, and at any given moment is ready to serve the crews and the customers. Often times fixing things you never knew were broken.

This group deserves recognition for their consistent actions above and beyond expectations in keeping apparatus and vehicles rolling in service of our community.