Grissom fire department named best medium size department in AFRC

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Joshua Weaver
  • 434th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Between battling 75-foot flames and providing lifesaving EMS support, Grissom’s fire department never wavered through 2020, and for that, they recently received the 2020 Chief Master Sergeant Ralph E. Sandborn Award, as the best medium size fire department in the Air Force Reserve Command.

The award is given to the fire protection flight that achieves the highest degree of excellence in base mission support and fire protection management. 

“I am extremely happy to win this award,” said John Ireland, Grissom fire chief. “The firefighters here deserve to be recognized for all the outstanding work they perform on a daily basis.”

2020 was an unusual year for everyone, and while most people were teleworking and working from home, Grissom firefighters implemented safety changes that allowed them to continue covering the installation and local community 24/7.

 “We had to significantly adjust the way we do things in order to keep our personnel safe,” said Ireland. “With EMS responses our personnel would wear the proper protective equipment, and we would only send the minimum required personnel inside the residence while the other crew members stayed outside unless needed.”

With all of the changes made to keep people safe, the level of service the fire department provided was never compromised,  and Ireland knows it takes a special type of person to adapt and continue wanting to serve. 

“Grissom firefighters are proud to be here,” he said. “They are here because they want to be here, providing emergency response capability to the installation and the local community.”

Grissom is one of the busiest fire departments in Air Force Reserve Command, but their dedication and support is what earned them the Sandborn award.

“In this department quality far outweighs quantity,” Ireland added.  

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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