SAN ANGELO, Texas --
The Military Firefighter Heritage Foundation hosted the 16th Annual Firefighter Ball at the McNease Convention Center in San Angelo, Texas, April 28, 2018. The purpose of the ball is to honor present and fallen military firefighters through awards and traditions.
The mission of the MFHF is to preserve the heritage of the military firefighter, to honor those who have fallen in the line of duty, and to support through financial and other means, the immediate family members of those who have fallen.
This year the guest speaker, U.S. Fire Administrator, Chief Keith Bryant, spoke on personal experiences in the U.S. Army as a military structural and aircraft rescue and firefighting firefighter. After he left the Army, he joined the Oklahoma City Fire Department before being appointed by President Donald J. Trump to be the U.S. Fire Administrator.
“Regardless of the titles we may receive,” said Bryant. “I want everyone here to know that the reason I do what I do, is the work. The work I do and the people I do it for is why we are all here tonight. To honor those who fight with us today and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.”
Part of the ceremony was awarding the Tom Smith Fire Equipment Department of Defense Fire Academy Instructor of the Year to each branch of service along with an overall instructor of the year award. This award is given to those that have displayed professionalism on the podium, devotion to duty and volunteerism to their unit and the local community.
The 2018 Tom Smith Fire Equipment DoD Fire Academy overall Instructor of the Year award went to Petty Officer 1st Class Travis Starr, Navy Center for Intelligence and Warfare Training Detachment Goodfellow instructor.
Also announced during the ceremony were the MFHF Hall of Fame inductees for 2018.
This year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award and Hall of Fame inductee began his career in 1978 as a U.S. Air Force Firefighter. Chief Mark Giuliano was stationed all over the country during his career as a firefighter with the Air Force and continued his career as a civilian in 2001. It was Giuliano and his firefighters who found and restored the 1958 O-6 Cardox crash truck on display at the Firefighter Memorial on Goodfellow.
Among the other hall of fame inductees was retired Chief Micheal Kuk, former U.S. Army firefighter. While in the Army Kuk was stationed at Ong Binh, Vietnam. After his honorable discharge, he worked at various private and military organizations until his retirement in 2012.
During 29 years of service, Chief Gelacio Rodriquez, another hall of fame inductee, accomplished many things including heading the only regional program to implement the Navy Emergency Management System protocol fully across the mid-west.
The last inductee, retired Master Gunnery Sgt. Peter Bordeleau, served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1983- 2013. Assigned to Goodfellow Air Force Base for two tours, he was one of the first Marines assigned to the Louis F. Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy on Goodfellow. He was also the first active duty Marine to be accepted into the National Fire Protection Association technical committee, providing technical knowledge and expertise on firefighting and rescue operations.
“We just want to say thank you to the base leadership, fire academy staff and the local community for their support,” said President of the Military Firefighter Heritage Foundation, Mike Robertson. “This year was a great event and we are looking forward to next year!”