Schmid takes Firefighter of the Year honors at annual banquet

Capt. David Schmid is named the 2014 Firefighter of the Year for the Quincy Volunteer Fire Department. Commissioner Chuck Leonhardt made the presentation at the department’s annual awards banquet Feb. 15. Photo by Maureen Forster
Mike Taborski

Every February, the firefighters at the Quincy Volunteer Fire Department select the one member who best embodies the mission and values of the department as their choice for Firefighter of the Year.

The announcement is made at the department’s annual installation of officers banquet, held Feb. 15 this year.

The remarks made by Fire Commissioner Chuck Leonhardt as he was making the presentation made it abundantly clear why they nominated Capt. David Schmid as this year’s choice to receive the prestigious award.

Leonhardt highlighted many of Schimd’s accomplishments since joining the department in 2006.

He noted the 300-plus hours of voluntary service he has accumulated during his time with the department. Leonhardt also spoke to the added value of that time since Schmid has become certified as an emergency medical technician, an apparatus driver/operator and a hazardous materials first responder at the operations level. He is also one of only a handful of county firefighters certified by the state as an instructor.

The honoree’s fellow officers best summed it up with a statement that read: “Captain Schmid is someone you can always rely on to carry out any assignment given to him, safely and with the utmost regard for the welfare of his firefighters and the public we are sworn to protect.”

Schmid and his wife Katie have two young boys. Fire Chief Robbie Cassou humorously told the audience that —in the hopes that the two youngsters would be a “chip off the old block” — he made sure that both boys received volunteer firefighter applications at birth.


Other presentations

Chief Cassou introduced the new slate of firefighters who have earned their stripes this year. They include John Hawkins, Michael Hawkins, Nick Kaiser, Kevin Mornroy, Dutch Morrison, Dony Sawchuk, Alexander Solovieff and Cristina Weinberg.

Julie Cassou was honored as the first to receive the Support Team Member of the Year award. Cassou took it upon herself to reach out to retired firefighters, spouses of firefighters and other members of the general public to join this specialized team of fire support professionals. Through her efforts, these members became registered as county disaster service workers, allowing them to respond to emergencies in other jurisdictions around the county.

Firefighter Tony DeMartini received a standing ovation when he was recognized for his 35 years with the department.

Although he has 15 years with the department but is currently not an active firefighter, former captain Cobey Brown is still very involved. He was recognized this year for his continued efforts in helping coordinate many of the department’s fundraising activities, most notably its 50/50 giveaway.


Special recognition

Chief Cassou made a special point that evening to talk about the unselfish time and commitment volunteers give to the department and the dedication they have to safeguarding their community.

Topping the list in total volunteer time was Capt. John Gay with 648 hours. He also led the list of the top 10 responders, with 347 calls. Firefighter James Mann wasn’t far behind with 308 responses, followed by Assistant Chief Frank Carey, 278, and Deputy Chief David Windle, 269 calls.

For attendance in training sessions, Carey led the list with 37 followed closely by Schmid and Windle, each making 35 training meetings, and Gay, DeMartini, Emilio Garcia and Weinberg with 32 each.

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