Victoria Fire Department recognizes 2020 achievements

The Victoria Fire Department held its 2020 Peer Awards to honor the achievements of employees and teams in the department.

Firefighter/EMT Angelo Stafford was named Rookie of the Year. Stafford is known for his positive attitude and willingness to lend a helping hand.

Ronnie Pesek, a fire engineer, was named Firefighter of the Year. Pesek has been with the department for nearly 30 years and often helps newer employees by sharing his experience.

Gary Daniels, a fire medic, was named Paramedic of the Year. Daniels has worked during the past year to mentor and coach newer medics, and he has also served as an interview panelist during recent hiring processes.

Battalion Chief Tim Hunter was named Member of the Year. Hunter has helped lead the fire department’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, working to protect the health and safety of fire department employees and the patients they serve.

The VFD Tactical EMS Unit, which consists of Fire Engineer Ray Gregory and fire medics Jose Carvajal, Roman Mancias, Brandy Marek and William Rollf, was named Crew of the Year. The team was formed in 2019 and has since deployed on several missions to provide vital emergency medical support during hostile events.

The Certificate of Merit was awarded to a group of employees who supported the department’s first pop-up flu vaccination clinic.

These employees were Battalion Chief Tim Hunter; firefighter/EMTs Jorge Mora, Rebekah Thompson and Pamela Yanta; and fire medics Gabriel Balcorta and Brandy Marek.

The team administered more than 100 flu vaccines to vulnerable residents who did not otherwise have access to vaccination.

The COVID-19 Nursing Home Testing Task Force, which consists of of Battalion Chief Jeff Cowan; EMS Captain Dustin Ferguson; fire medics Jose Carvajal, Roman Mancias and Pamela Yanta; and Sarah Quick, former healthcare coalition preparedness manager with the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council, received the Commitment to Excellence award. The team developed and executed a plan to test more than 1,000 nursing home residents in the region for COVID-19.

The Fire Marshal’s Office, which consists of Fire Marshal Tom Legler; fire inspector/investigators Kevin Lamprecht, Frank Naranjo, Maria Perez and John Stary; and administrative assistant Connie Delgado, received the Fire Chief’s Commendation for their efforts to ensure all businesses in Victoria followed health orders from state and local officials to keep patrons safe.

This included establishing a COVID-19 Compliance Task Force that made contact with local businesses to provide information and answer questions.

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Chase Rogers covers breaking news and public safety for The Victoria Advocate. He graduated from Texas State University with a bachelor's in mass communications and journalism. Chase can be reached at 361-574-1286, crogers@vicad.com or on Twitter.

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