by Pam Bozek, President, Ronnie Thames Foundation
On Saturday, September 7, 2019, The Ronnie Thames Foundation recognized and honored metropolitan Atlanta fire departments at the Foundation’s 2019 Silent Hero Awards. Sponsored in part by Atlanta businesses FireAde®, Chick-fil-A®, and BMW, and fire equipment companies such as Municipal Equipment Company, the evening started with a reception and dinner at the Georgia Aquarium Oceans Ballroom.
The Silent Hero Awards recognize firefighters who make a difference in Atlanta communities through their commitment and dedication. The Silent Hero Awards began in 2013, with only three fire departments represented; this year’s awards honored over twenty-seven departments and is now the largest firefighter recognition event in the southeast. Guests included Atlanta dignitaries and representatives from the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), City of Chicago Fire Department and Boston Fire Department. It is a privilege to honor these and all firefighters for their tremendous contributions towards safer and better educated communities.
Fire departments or communities may nominate individuals in one of four categories: Leadership, Teamwork, Heroism, and Education/ Community.
The attributes for each award category may be found at ronniethames.org/nominate. Nominations are considered and winners selected by a panel including local Atlanta businessmen, and retired and active firefighters. The winners are revealed at the Awards dinner and ceremonies. Silent Hero Award winners are further honored with the Silent Hero Flight of Honor to New York City, which includes a tour of the 9/11 Memorial and museum and a visit with FDNY. Sponsorship opportunities exist for businesses and partners who have a desire to give back to the local community and recognize the brave men and women firefighters who protect our lives, businesses, homes and properties.
This year’s winners are: Education/Community – DO Annette Haygood, DeKalb County Fire Rescue Department; Leadership – Chief John Brant, LaGrange Fire Department; Teamwork – Lt. Josh Williams, Lt. Jonathan Williamson, Lt. Caleb Harrison, Lt. James Ormsby, Sgt. Chris McGhee, Sgt. Chris Greathouse, Sgt. Sean Guerrero, Sgt. Paul Welsh, Firefighter Pete Trujillo, Firefighter Jordan Avera, Firefighter Charles Purchase, Firefighter Kevin Schmitz, Firefighter Joe Livingston, Firefighter Rich Mounts and Lt. Scott Hester and Firefighter William Culpepper, Troup County Fire Department; and Heroism – Lt. Kyle Pepples and Sgt. George Kelley, Clayton County Fire Department.
The Ronnie Thames Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Peachtree City, Georgia, and is committed to helping children, and their families, when their lives have been forever changed by fire. Our vision is a world without pediatric burns, and we work to accomplish these objectives while decreasing the incidence of pediatric burns through community partnered programs for fire and safety education, awareness campaigns increasing community and fire department participation, and education for our youth within schools and neighborhoods. Please visit the website at ronniethames.org or contact the Foundation at 678.435.0024 to learn more about the Save-A-Life Campaign and how you can Help Us. Help Children. Prevent Burns.