Special award for “acts above and beyond the call of duty”
By Lynn Volkens
Members of the Central City Fire Department (CCFD) share a camaraderie that is built on training together and responding to emergency situations of all kinds in order to protect and help the Central City community. On January 10, 2013, Central City’s firefighters got to share that camaraderie in a more relaxed atmosphere, sans the heavy gear and helmets, sirens and adrenaline rush. It was CCFD’s Annual Service and Awards Dinner. The event was held close-to-home; right next door to the Central City Fire Station at Johnny Z’s Casino.
CCFD is a municipal fire department composed of an all-volunteer force headed by paid professional Fire Chief Gary Allen. It was his duty – make that his pleasure – to present the awards and recognize CCFD’s outstanding volunteers of 2012. Alexandra Mills had joined the department as a teenaged “Junior Firefighter,” and was recognized as CCFD’s newest Volunteer Firefighter. Jennifer Mracheck received the award for Most Training Hours. Royce McLain was promoted to Lieutenant.
Chief Allen explained that the coveted “Firefighter of the Year” award might be presented to an individual who is considered the best firefighter of the group, or could be awarded to the volunteer who attends the most events or puts in the most hours of firefighting service. The award may also be presented to recognize an individual who has overcome adversity in order to serve, or one who has completed a particularly challenging achievement – someone who has gone to lengths to better himself or herself for firefighting purposes. The “2012 Firefighter of the Year Award” went to Anthony Cole. “He has done a lot of those things,” Chief Allen said, “but he has also taken the initiative to better our department in other ways.” The Chief expressed appreciation for Cole’s dependability in covering calls, adding “He has taken our Training Division and helped pick it up a notch, which has allowed me to concentrate on other needs and duties.” Volunteer Firefighter Cole was also recognized for having put in the most incident hours in 2012.
Volunteer Firefighter Cody Allen received the “Medal of Honor,” a special recognition award for his quick action to save people, property (and pets) at a fire scene on October 8, 2012. Cody was on his way to work, Chief Allen explained, driving on Highway 119 at 6:22 a.m., when he spotted a residence on fire. He radioed Gilpin County Dispatch, getting fire trucks and firefighters en route without delay, then opened the door and entered the residence. He woke two sleeping adults and hustled them outside to safety, along with the family dog. He returned to the structure with bottled water he had in his truck, using it to help prevent the fire’s spread. “I strongly believe that Cody’s selfless act surely saved two individuals and the dog from certain death and, at a very minimum, from being distinctly overcome with smoke inhalation and becoming very sick,” said Chief Allen. The Chief expressed both pleasure and pride in presenting the special award for “acts above and beyond the call of duty.” Volunteer Firefighter Cody Allen is Chief Allen’s nephew – seems firefighting runs in the family.
Central City businesses also showed their appreciation to CCFD for the work of Chief Allen and CCFD volunteers in helping both residents and visitors to the city. Dostal Alley Brewpub and Casino, Century Casino, Easy Street Casino, moment for Me Salon, and Annie Oakley’s Emporium enhanced the evening with valuable door prizes. CCFD conveys thanks to these supportive businesses and special thanks to Johnny Z’s Casino for hosting the event.
CCFD always welcomes new volunteers. All training and gear is provided. Contact Chief Allen at 303-582-3473 for more information or visit the department’s website at http://www. centralcitycolorado.us/ government/departments/ fire-department/volunteers/html.