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Chief John Ingrao (left) and Dana Waldron
Hoodland Fire District celebrates the finest of 2017 posted on 02/01/2018

The Hoodland Fire District (HFD) celebrated another year of service at the annual awards banquet on Saturday, Jan. 27, at The Resort at The Mountain. The yearly event offers a chance for the district to present awards and enjoy dinner, live music by Bob Voll and the Too Loose Band and an evening of entertainment for all the district’s members, including volunteers, the board of directors, support groups, lifetime members, retirees and the paid staff.

HFD Chief John Ingrao noted the event ties together the members of the district that don’t often get the chance to mingle.

“I think (it's special) because we have so many different skill sets and areas of responsibility, and we work in conjunction but not all together,” Ingrao said. “We’re thanking each other and having a celebration.”

The Fire Fighter of the Year award went to Dana Waldron, who has volunteered with the district for two years. Ingrao noted that Waldron’s selection was unanimous, including all paid staff and duty officers, and that he is exceedingly skilled and always wants to be helping.

“He’s just consistently striving to do better and because of that it brings everybody else up with him,” Ingrao said. “He just exemplifies that volunteer spirit.”

Waldron noted that he joined the district after a loss in his family and that winning the award is “humbling.”

“I don’t see myself as doing that much more than anybody else,” Waldron said. “I love my Hoodland Fire District and I hope I can serve it for a long time to come.”

Matt Garcia earned the Rookie of the Year award, while Melinda Caldwell took home the EMS Responder of the Year award and Tom Nelson won the Support Volunteer of the Year. Years in Service Awards winners included Cody Anderson (five years); Evan Jarvis, Joe Schwab and Eric Macy (ten years each); and Linn and Carol Norgard (35 years each).

New awards were also given out this year, including Above and Beyond awards, for both combat personnel and support staff, and the Chief’s Award, for the person who transcends all the other awards and is there every possible moment when needed. Kevin Frank won the Above and Beyond (Combat) award, Sally Chester and Debra Sinz took home the Above and Beyond (Support) award and James Jarvis received the Chief’s Award.

“We weren’t capturing all of the extra work and effort that people have done,” Ingrao said. “There's so many doing so much stuff, we kind of forget about it. They’re going above and beyond.”

The district also honored the Support Group/CERT and the Lions Club with Nominated Awards for their work on the Great American Eclipse last year. Lieutenant/EMT-1 Phil Burks noted the eclipse was unprecedented and the time and effort put in for it was over multiple days. The two groups helped to serve more than 650 meals to members of various public safety organizations during all hours of the day and night during the event.

“We called on the district to do a lot and the district answered in all ways very well, and exceeded the expectations of everyone,” Burks said.

By Garth Guibord/MT

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