Wylie Fire-Rescue took time to celebrate their own, recognizing its top firefighters and crews at the 28th annual awards banquet held Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Collin College Wylie Campus Conference Center.
The banquet featured a catered meal, a video compilation of the past year’s accomplishments with a few bloopers and a trivia game that pitted audience members against one another.
Fire Chief Brandon Blythe served as emcee for the event and he said many of the first responders received life-saving awards for calls they responded to in 2022 and one in 2023. Members were also rewarded in other categories such as busiest shift, most fires, most training hours and dispatcher who answered the most calls.
During the first portion of awards, Blythe gave out “statistical awards,” which are given to overall accomplishments, such as most ESO reports and busiest ambulance.
The busiest company in terms of priority one calls was the C shift that mans Quint 141. The B shift manning the same quint received the award for the greatest number of fire responses.
The busiest member, quantified by the greatest number of calls responded to, was Captain Brandon Gibson, who was present at 9.7% of all calls. He also logged the highest number of training hours over the past year with nearly 432.
The award for the fastest turnaround time went to A shift for Quint 144 while Kevin Scott received recognition for filing the most ESO reports with 697.
The busiest ambulance was C shift for Med 990, which responded to about one-third of calls received by the unit.
Paige Gentry took the most calls for the department this year while Rory Strain dispatched the greatest number of calls.
After the “statistical awards” were distributed, attendees were able to partake in the catered meal and watch a nearly nine-minute video highlighting Wylie Fire-Rescue’s accomplishments in 2022. After the video, the department recognized several crews that received Lifesaver Awards. For three of the calls, individuals and families impacted by the lifesaving action were given a chance to speak.
The first individual honor of the evening went to Driver/Engineer Eric Owens, the recipient of the Certificate of Merit. Blythe said the award is not always issued on a yearly basis.
Firefighter/Paramedic Brett Hoppe was named Rookie of the Year, which is given to the best first-year firefighter in the department. Firefighter/Paramedic Jeff Pynes was named Firefighter of the Year.
Driver/Engineer of the year was awarded to Patrick Hewitt, while Brandon Gibson continued his busy evening on stage collecting Officer of the Year. Battalion Chief Cory Claborn received the Chief of the Year Award.
Amanda Larmer was awarded Dispatcher of the Year. Firefighter/Paramedic Joe Krizan received the Paramedic of the Year award.
There were two Wylie Way Award winners this year with Michael Ahlemeier and Wylie Pipes and Drums both taking home the honors.
Crew of the Year was given to dispatchers Julia Maschmann, Allyson Frederick, Robin Livingston and Amanda Larmer. The four were nicknamed the “Uvalde Dispatch Crew” for their work relieving dispatchers in the aftermath of the May 2022 school shooting.
Debbie Buccino was named Administrative Employee of the Year while Paramedic Plus EMS provider of the Year went to Kate Capehart.
The department also issues a Turtle Award to a crewmember with an interesting experience on the job. This year’s recipient was Drew Jackson.
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