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Hoodland Fire celebrates its finest at banquet posted on 01/31/2020

Members of all parts of the Hoodland Fire District (HFD), including career staff, volunteers, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the support group, gathered for the annual awards banquet on Saturday, Jan. 25 at the Mount Hood Oregon Resort, celebrating the district’s best of 2019.

Jaden Markham, a student firefighter from Gresham, took home the Firefighter of the Year award for exemplifying the mission and values of the district.

“Every minute that he can he just puts forth 100 percent of his effort into the fire district,” said Lieutenant/Paramedic Scott Kline, who emceed the event with Battalion Chief Pat McAbery.

Markham noted his passion for firefighting runs in his family, with his father serving as a firefighter in Gresham. Markham first became a cadet with the Gresham Fire Department and has ascended to the role of captain with that program.

He started volunteering with the HFD in 2017 and was accepted into the district’s student program in 2018. Markham is pursuing a career as a firefighter and is currently in school studying to get his paramedic certification.

Markham noted the award will keep him pushing to continue to be a strong contributor.

“It just shows that all the effort and time and hard work, even on the days I feel that I’m not doing a good job or I’m just kind of tired, it makes me want to push more,” he said. “It just gives me that incentive to do my best and learn more every day.”

Markham added that one recent call was an “eye opener” for him, as he got to work on the pump at the scene of a fire for the first time.

“I got to see a different side of the job, instead of just being a firefighter actually being an engineer,” he said, explaining that the engine carried 1,000 gallons of water and he needed to use math to help determine the hydraulic pressures and control the water flow.

“I just realized that there’s more to learn in the fire service than what I know now, and I will always be learning throughout my career,” he added.

Gary Brandt, a support volunteer who performs various duties including running medical calls, vehicle maintenance and administrative work, landed three awards: Support Volunteer of the Year, the Above and Beyond Award and the Emergency Responder of the Year.

“He does a lot of different things,” Kline said. “He always seems to say ‘yes’ and with no hesitation.”

“He just seems to always be available to go out on EMS calls no matter what time of night,” he added.

Dontae Blake earned a Civilian Commendation for providing assistance at the scene of a serious motor vehicle accident where he worked to free the victim of a burning vehicle and cared for the occupant.

Elizabeth Niemeyer earned an award from her work with the Support Group, Nora Gambee won an award from her work with CERT and all members of CERT were honored with the Chief’s Award.

Years in Service honorees were Tyler Myers, Kelli Ewing, Ben Hardy, Brian Henrichs and Andi Figini for five years of service, and McAbery and Kline for 35 years of service.

By Garth Guibord/MT

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