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KDH presents awards for fire department service

The Kill Devil Hills Fire Department celebrated its annual awards banquet in March at Captain George’s Seafood Restaurant.

KILL DEVIL HILLS Fire Department volunteer Ross Pinto (center) received the 2017 Rookie of the Year Award for the department. Presenting the award are Kill Devil Hills Fire Chief Troy Tilley (left) and Deputy Fire Chief Frank Roepcke (right). Pinto also received a special Group Unit Action Award. (KDHFD photo)

The department recognized a group of firefighters for the Group Unit Action Award, which is awarded to a group or entire crew when assigned duties are performed in a valorous or meritorious action that is deemed above and beyond the normal course of duty.

Deputy Fire Chief Frank Roepcke explained the reason for this award:

“On Sept. 3, 2017, we were challenged with Tropical Storm Hermine, on top of the impending storm, it was Labor Day weekend. The department responded admirably to a record 38 emergency responses during a 24-hour period. Most of these 38 responses occurred on Saturday, between the hours of 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and we know how busy our area gets around this time frame. We were responding to all types of emergencies, all over town. All of this was accomplished without any injury to staff or significant damage to department equipment. Thank you to each of the following members for a true depiction of dedicated service:”

KILL DEVIL HILLS Fire Department Sgt. Dennis Spencer received the 2017 Chief’s Award for his dedication to the department. Presenting the award are Kill Devil Hills Fire Chief Troy Tilley (left) and Deputy Fire Chief Frank Roepcke (right). Spencer also received a special Group Unit Action Award. (KDHFD photo)

Sammy Barnes, Hank Boyce, John Church, Devin Clark, JB Crist, Nigel Culpepper, Sgt. Shelly Heppert, Capt. Jody Long, Lois Nelms, Deputy Fire Chief Frank Roepcke, Sgt. Dennis Spencer, Fire Chief Troy Tilley, Capt. Pete Turek (Retired), Sgt. John Vann and Interim Sgt. Ryan Ward.

Length of Service Awards were presented to the following:

One year, firefighter Ben Cobb

Five years, fire engineer Sammy Barnes, volunteer firefighter JT Payne, Pam Riddick (transferred to fire department five years ago from another town department), support member Tom Rogers and Chief Troy Tilley.

10 years, Capt. Curtis Burmeister

20 years, Sgt. Shelly Heppert

Additional awards presented were for the most training hours, most fire calls, Rookie of the Year, Chief’s Award and Firefighter of the Year.  Those receiving such awards are:

Most Training Hours. The department had a total of 11,262 training hours for 2017.

Support: Terry Gray, Jr. with 649 hours

Volunteer: Scott Dawson with 330 hours

Career: Sgt. Zack Watson with 483 hours

Most Fire Calls. The Kill Devil Hills Fire Department responded to 1,511 emergency calls in 2017.

Support: Sgt. Bill Hedspeth with 32 calls

Volunteer: Sgt. Steve Siegrist with 133 calls

Career: Ben Cobb with 421 calls

Rookie of the Year: volunteer Ross Pinto

Chief’s Award: Sgt. Dennis Spencer for his dedication to the department

Firefighter of the Year: Master Firefighter John “Hank” Boyce


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