VRFA honors outstanding efforts; Carolan, Allen receive top awards
March 3, 2013 · Updated 9:21 PM
For the Reporter
Capt. Paul Carolan and Rob Allen received the Valley Regional Fire Authority's 2012 Fire Officer of the Year and Firefighter of the Year award, respectively, at the VRFA's annual awards banquet on Feb. 22.
Co-workers describe Carolan as "a driven individual who expects the best out of himself and inspires his team to do the same." Carolan, a 22-year veteran, served as a captain on the VRFA ladder truck before taking on the duties of planning and logistics captain.
Carolan "demonstrates a high level of leadership, encouraging and managing his crew with attention to detail and personal responsibility," his colleagues say.
Allen began working with the VRFA in 2008.
According to his peers, Allen "is an exceptionally skilled firefighter and emergency medical technicians (EMT) who is always looking for ways to be more efficient."
Allen was the catalyst behind the adoption of a taxi voucher program, designed to assist those in need of nonemergency transportation following a 911 response.
"Rob is very motivated and always a pleasure to work with. He is a professional at his craft," said a fellow firefighter.
In other honors, the VRFA awarded a medal of commendation to Capt. Dale Laginess for his service on the authority's technical rescue team. Laginess, who has served 25 years in technical rescue, has had a lasting influence on technical rescue response capabilities. As chair of King County's Zone 3 Rope Rescue Committee, Laginess was the primary author of a 90-page rope rescue manual that is widely used throughout the region.
In addition, Laginess is the primary architect, instructor and evaluator of the VRFA's operations level rope rescue training program.
Kimberly McDonald and Kelly Williams, public education and information officers, were honored with the Professional Excellence Award in recognition of their work to provide safety information to local citizens. In a recent evaluation of fire protection capabilities conducted by the Washington State Survey and Rating Bureau, the VRFA Public Education and Information Division received the highest marks given to date.
The VRFA recognized six retirees who spent many years serving the emergency and fire service needs of those in the community. The were: Fire Marshal Jeff Stottlemyre (30 years of service); Capt. Chris Heminger (32 years); Firefighter Mike Batchelor (31 years); Firefighter Todd Hurlow (31 years); Firefighter Ron Logan (27 years) and Firefighter Ed Surber (33 years).
In a badge pinning ceremony, Norm Golden received a promotion to fire marshal and Anthony Rodriguez and Guy Smith were promoted to the rank of captain.
PHOTO BELOW: Rob Allen, left, the Valley Regional Fire Authority's 2012 Firefighter of the Year, with VRFA Administrator Eric Robertson. Courtesy photo, VRFA