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Sunday November 19, 2017

2017 NCSFA Award Winners

At the NCSFA’s 130th Annual Meeting and Annual Banquet the Board of Directors and membership honored two special award recipients.  John Powell (pictured in the center of the top photo) received the Firefighter of the Year award.  Firefighter Powell is from Winston-Salem Fire Department and was selected as this years recipient due to his continued acts of “…courage, professionalism, kindness and compassion…” as described by his nominator, Gerrod Hardy.

Also awarded this year was the first ever Medal of Valor Award to David Shelton (pictured to the right of the bottom photo) of Hot Springs Volunteer Fire Department.  Firefighter Shelton rescued someone from a burning structure prior to apparatus getting on scene back in April of this year.  His nominator and Fire Chief, Joshua Norton, said that he is “…blessed to have such dedicated firefighters…” as Shelton on his department and as members of their community.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and the membership of the North Carolina State Firefighters’ Association, congratulations to both John Powell and David Shelton on being recipients of the 2017 NCSFA Awards, both are very much deserved.

NCSFA Announces Association’s Name Change

Good Morning to all North Carolina State Firemen’s Association Members:

It is my pleasure and responsibility as President of the Association to inform you that the North Carolina State Firemen’s Association is now the North Carolina State Firefighters’ Association. This announcement was made in a formal ceremony at our annual SAFRE Conference, held in Charlotte, just moments ago to all those in attendance, and your Board members wanted to insure you heard the news simultaneously. The name change is a culmination of efforts that began last fall with a survey of all member fire departments in North Carolina, and was brought to reality when the NC General Assembly passed, at our request, House Bill 19 which contained language allowing us to change our name. Since we were created in 1889 by the Legislature, only they could approve this change.

What does this mean to you as members of our Association? First it means the Association that has represented its member’s interests since 1887 will continue to do so, advocating for and providing benefits, working towards solutions to problems and concerns, representing the fire service’s interest, and providing funding for programs such as grants and scholarships. Second, it brings our name into the modern day definition of a firefighter that is all inclusive of our membership, and recognizes the total scope of how this wonderful vocation serves the public.

Although the name change is in place, it will take us time to transition all the logos, signs, patches, flags, shirts, etc., that carry our name into the new design. Perhaps that time of transition is good, and people will recognize through time that with a new name that represents all the diversity of our membership, we’re still the same Association of people that have protected and looked after each other since our founding in 1887.

It has been my pleasure and honor to serve as your President throughout this year of transition, and I look forward to continuing to work with each of you as members of the North Carolina State Firefighters’ Association. For a full report of the activities of your Association during 2015-2016, please review the Presidents Report and Strategic Planning Document on our web-site at ncsfa.com.

Sincerely,

Kevin Gordon, President

New name, same mission.

2014 SAFRE Registration Now Open! #WeAre


 

2014 SAFRE Registration Now Open!

Click here to register now for the Full Conference (Pre-Conference Training, Workshops and Expo) or buy a Day Pass.

 

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The Order of the Longleaf Pine Awarded to Two at NCSFA’s Annual Banquet

It is a select few North Carolinians that can call themselves recipients of the prestigious Order of the Longleaf Pine.  The award was created in 1965 and is among the highest honors bestowed upon civilians who have proven record of service to the state of North Carolina.  This honor is not something awarded very often and the North Carolina State Firemen’s Association had not one, but two recipients in one evening during the 2013 NCSFA Annual Award Banquet.

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The first recipient of the award was Timothy L. Bradley (pictured above).  Mr. Bradley recently retired after 28 years with the State of North Carolina and was presented his award by the Insurance Commissioner, Wayne Goodwin.  After Tim’s retirement from the State, he was appointed as the Executive Director for the North Carolina State Firemen’s Association.  He was very humbled and honored to receive the award and is  proud to join the ranks of the past recipients.

 

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The evening’s second recipient of the Order of the Longleaf Pine award was Paul F. Miller (pictured above).  August 11, 2013 marked Mr. Miller’s official retirement date from the North Carolina State Firemen’s Association after 23 dedicated years at the helm of organization.  Paul was presented with his award from Tim Bradley, who took over as Executive Director that night after Paul’s official retirement.  Paul modestly told the almost 500 attending the banquet that he was wonderfully surprised and very grateful to receive such a great honor and to be included in the ranks of it’s previous honorees.

Recipients of the Order of the Longleaf Pine are given a certificate that reads:

“Reposing special confidence in the integrity, learning and zeal of [honoree], I [the Governor of North Carolina] do by these presents confer The Order of the Long Leaf Pine with the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary, privileged to enjoy fully all rights granted to members of this exalted order, among which is the special privilege to propose the following North Carolina toast in select company anywhere in the free world:”

Here’s to the land of the long leaf pine,
The summer land where the sun doth shine,
Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great,
Here’s to “Down Home,” the Old North State!

Special recognition and congratulations should be given to Tim Bradley and Paul Miller for receiving such an extraordinary honor.  They are two of North Carolina’s most ardent champions of the fire service and have dedicated much of their lives to it’s betterment.

 

Gastonia fire chief overseeing state firemen’s association

 

Chief Phil Welch, Gastonia Fire Department

 

Michael Barrett
To some people, becoming the president of an organization means you’re finally able to kick up your heels and let the underlings do the dirty work.

A longtime colleague of Gastonia Fire Chief Phillip Welch Jr., the newly appointed president of the N.C. State Firemen’s Association, said that’s the last thing that will happen in this case.

“Phil is a great individual and very dedicated. He’s very well prepared because of all the years he’s served on the board,” said Paul Miller, the 22-year executive director of the NCSFA. “He’s been involved in a number of major decisions that have had a huge impact on our members over the years.”

A Gastonia native, Welch was 19 years old when he began his full-time career with the Gastonia Fire Department in 1980. He achieved his “dream job” of becoming the agency’s 18th fire chief in 2009. And this month, he was the first Gastonia firefighter in the department’s 108-year history to be designated the NCSFA’s president.

“I’ve been blessed to live out my dream,” he said this week, after being honored by the Gastonia City Council with a proclamation Tuesday.

The NCSFA is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year as the lead organization for firefighters across the state. It provides insurance and benefits for its approximately 48,000 individual members, advocates on their behalf and lobbies in Raleigh for legislation that enhances fire safety.

“We work very closely to support any fire safety-related issues that are out there,” Welch said.

Welch began his service on the NCSFA’s state board as the statistician, compiling all data about statewide firefighter injuries and fatalities, and held that position nine years. For the last seven years, he has advanced through the ranks as a high-level director on the board.

Welch said his 16 years with the organization have given him a unique insight into its core values and mission.

“I’ve been one of the very fortunate people to have had many years on the board,” he said. “It’s quite a process.”

His term as president will now last one year.

 

Long list of accolades

Welch’s entire NCSFA service has come while he maintained full-time positions here in Gaston County. His list of professional achievements is extensive, and includes numerous fire service degrees.

He is a 2004 Executive Fire Officer graduate of the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md. And he received the Chief Fire Officer designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

Welch started out as an unpaid 18-year-old with the Union Road Volunteer Fire Department, and later served as its fire chief for several years. After joining Gastonia, he left in 1991 to become the first director of Gaston College’s newly constructed Regional Emergency Services Training Center.

Before leaving that year, he told then-Gastonia Fire Chief Bob Murray that he hoped to one day return and fill Murray’s seat. It was a dream he would realize 18 years later.

Murray, a past president of the N.C. Association of Fire Chiefs, described Welch as a “super leader” who he hated to lose in 1991. But it was for the best, he said.

“I give him credit for making the college program what it is,” he said. “It’s one of the best in the state, if not the best anywhere.”

Murray said he has no doubt Welch’s service as NCSFA president will pay dividends for North Carolina, not to mention Gastonia.

“I’m very proud of him,” Murray  said. “He’ll do a super job.”

You can reach Michael Barrett at 704-869-1826 or twitter.com/GazetteMike.

 

Read more: http://www.gastongazette.com/articles/fire-74805-president-firemen.html#ixzz24ltwNz3t