Monday, January 25, 2010

AFD Members Receive Awards from the Department of Defense

In a ceremony at Austin Fire Department (AFD) Headquarters earlier today, four members of AFD were presented with awards by the Texas Committee for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (EGSR). Those individuals are:

• Stephanie Saenz, Human Resources Advisor (28 years of service)
• Battalion Chief Aaron Woolverton, Investigations (18 years of service)
• Firefighter Abe Caruthers (7 years of service; not pictured)
• Firefighter Kregg Phillips (8 years of service)

All four individuals were honored with the Patriot Award in recognition of their extraordinary support to AFD firefighters who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.

“It has always been our philosophy that service to the community doesn’t begin and end with your shift at a fire station,” said Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr. “Whether you are serving your country—or supporting those who do, as these honored individuals—it’s a team effort. And we are incredibly proud of both those in our ranks who are serving in the military, and the fine men and women of the Austin Fire Department who support those efforts.”

The Austin Fire Department has been recognized as a model for other public safety organizations for how they take care of employees serving in the Guard and Reserve without compromising its mission of “preservation of life and property.”

In presenting the award, Texas ESGR Committee Regional Director Rodney McNelley stated, “Chief Kerr’s leadership and commitment to her officers has drawn praise from within the department and throughout the City. The Austin Fire Department’s management philosophy is consistent with the City of Austin’s initiatives on supporting its reservist employees and veterans. This support is a key reason why Austin received the prestigious Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award in 2008.”

The City of Austin’s Veteran Consultant Allen Bergeron works closely with the Austin Fire Department’s military personnel and their management staff. Bergeron stated, “Through effective communication, training, and a sound military reintegration process, the Austin Fire Department has proven to be a fine example of how other employers should support their military employees. Chief Kerr and the entire AFD truly go above and beyond to support their military firefighters and their families. It’s our way of saying ‘thank you’ for their commitment to serve.”

A big round of applause to our award winners; thanks for making us proud!