Every year the Palm Coast Kiwanis Club recognizes the four most outstanding firefighters in the county with the Firefighter of the Year ceremony and awards. The award ceremony was held at the Adega II Portuguese Grille at 15 Palm Harbor Way on Wednesday, Oct. 14. Each department, the City of Bunnell, City of Flagler Beach, City of Palm Coast and the Flagler County Emergency Services, chooses a nominee by the firefighters commitment to the department as well as to the community. Kiwanis past President Frank Consentino and current President Denise Calderwood organized the event and presented the awards to the firefighters.
The Bunnell Fire Department Firefighter of the Year award went to Volunteer Firefighter and Driver Engineer Robert Bracewell. “Bracewell completes 40% of the calls to the station and has been very active within our department since rejoining us last year,” Chief Derek Fraser said. “For that he deserves the Firefighter of the Year award this year.” Bracewell previously volunteered with the City of Bunnell Fire Department for five years starting in 2005. He moved back to Bunnell and began volunteering again in 2014.
The Flagler Beach Fire Department chose Firefighter and Paramedic Andy Thomas as the Flagler Beach Firefighter of the Year. Thomas has worked for the department for over four years. He is one of only two CPR instructors and is the only certified Water Rescue Technician at the Flagler Beach department. He has obtained state certifications as an aerial operator, driver engineer, fire officer 1 and most recently, a paramedic.
“Andy has always been more than willing to work with the departments new recruits, which is always very appreciated,” Captain Robert ‘Bobby’ Pace said. “He is a true asset to the department, an excellent example to all the members and was an obvious choice for as this year’s award winner.”
The Palm Coast Fire Department appointed the award to firefighter and paramedic Eric Robinson. He has been a firefighter in Palm Coast for 8 years, certifies over 400 citizens in CPR every year, is a pediatric advanced life support instructor, is a part of the public education team and is the team leader of the department’s Critical Incident Stress Management team. “We are very proud to have had him for the past eight years, we could not have asked for a better firefighter of the year nominee,” Lt. Kyle Berryhill said.
Firefighter and paramedic David Lawrence was chosen for the Flagler County Emergency Services award winner. “I had the pleasure of meeting David back in 2007, when he was in fire school and I was one of his instructors,” Chief Fire Marshal Joe King said. “He was one of the few outstanding students that had stood out while in class, he towed his weight as well as everybody else’s. Dave was always a good team player. He is one of the most humble guys you could meet. Recently he was in the paper for saving dogs form a residential fire. Apparently the next day he went back to that house, those kids had lost everything, and he had brought them softball equipment so they would have something to play with. I found that out from the family.” Lawrence’s dedication to helping the community contributed to being this year’s award nominee.