Leading his last reception as GSFA president, Cartersville Fire Chief Scott Carter kicked off the event, which was hosted by the Dalton Fire Department at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center in Dalton.
Taking home one of the first awards of the night, Bartow County Fire Department Capt. Colleen Cochran was named Educator of the Year.
A 22-year veteran of BCFD, Cochran serves as the department’s Fire Safety Coordinator, coordinating and supervising all fire safety education programs for the county.
Cochran said the acclamation was one made more meaningful by the organizations responsible for choosing the winners.
“It was a true honor to me because there is a lot of work behind it,” she said.
According to the nomination, Cochran “has dedicated much of her career to fire safety education,” working with the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation and helping secure grants to establish new programs in Bartow County.
For the 13-year captain, education covers those of all ages.
“We teach from day care to senior citizens and you’ve got a gap in there. A lot of people, ... if you don’t go to some of the senior citizens, they’ve missed that fire safety gap because when they went to school they didn’t have it,” she said. “That’s what we are out here for — to educate the senior citizens, educate middle age, teenagers, the little bitty ones that are just starting to know what stop, drop and roll is. ... Fire safety education is basically everything to saving peoples’ lives.”
Along with Cochran’s award, Cartersville firefighters Chad Hendrix, Joe Hill and Mack King received the GSFA Valor Award for a call received earlier this year.
On April 2, the three were dispatched to a call of an unresponsive female.
“The crew of Engine 3 quickly went into action with aggressive Basic Cardiac Life Support and AED,” the nomination read. “With the result of their action, the patient was revived and pulse was returned prior to the arrival of EMS.
“Valor was shown by this crew by quick action, response and treatment. While there are so many times where there may not be a positive outcome with circumstances such as these, the courage and determination by this crew under extreme, stressful circumstance has resulted in a citizen who is now alive, well and back in the arms of her family.”
The three were applauded by Carter, who said the focus of the night was on the award winners.
Carter ended his tenure as a GSFA president Saturday morning in a speech to the association.
Thanking God and his wife, he called the experience humbling and rewarding. “Georgia’s fire service, you have humbled me, and I stand here today in awe of you. Thank you for support and your prayers. Never stop believing, never allow anyone to steal your passion, and never forget the importance and honor of being a firefighter.”
“I am thankful for our city administration for supporting me as I represented Georgia’s fire service here in Georgia and across the nation,” Carter said Monday. “Not only was it about representing the fire service but it was a chance for me to represent the greatest group of firefighters and the greatest city and, of course, that is the city of Cartersville.”
Carter will continue to serve on the GSFA board for two years as the immediate past president.
In the final move of the night, BCFD Division Chief of Training & Special Operations Dwayne Jamison was sworn in as Sergeant at Arms for the GAFC.
Jamison has served three years as the president of the Northwest Georgia Fire Chiefs Association and said the new position was “the next step in getting involved at the state level administration of the Georgia fire service.”
The GAFC works with the GSFA on major legislation that affects the fire service, along with overseeing state agencies dealing with firefighting and contracts with outside organizations.
“It was great. It was a very humbling experience. I am very honored that the leaders of the Georgia fire service have that kind of confidence in me,” Jamison said after being elected to the post.
During the four-day conference, a firefighter skills completion was held and CFD took second place in the state. Cartersville firefighter Scotty Fillers also won first place in the rapid dress completion, becoming the fastest firefighter in the state.