The Fire Department at Mt. Juliet held its 2017 awards ceremony Dec. 17 at its annual Christmas party.
One of the awards given out was the inaugural Linn Yeager award, named after the founder of Rehab 23. The award was given to none other than Yeager himself.
Rehab 23 was founded in 2013 as a mobile unit to help first-response crews on emergency scenes.
“Rehab 23 is a mobile unit stocked with equipment and supplies to serve as a public safety refuge for first responders who are on the scene of an emergency for multiple hours,” said Yeager. “In addition, it serves as the place Wilson Emergency Management Agency staff can provide necessary medical checks for first responders at the scene.”
Yeager helped found Rehab 23, and since its start, has volunteered his time working with the mobile unit. Mt. Juliet fire Deputy Chief Christopher Allen said Yeager has done plenty to earn the honor of having an award named after him.
“FDMJ wanted an award by which we could honor a civilian who contributed significantly to our mission,” said Allen. “Linn is a humble, driven, dedicated leader and emergency responder. Not only does Linn lead the Rehab 23 team, but he also assists FDMJ with other projects, such as our 2017 Fire Rescue Ops 101 event. Linn has also housed two FDMJ firefighters at his home when those firefighters moved to Tennessee to join our young department.”
The department also presented three other awards, one of them, the Dylan Adams Award, was also presented for the first time.
According to Allen, Adams was a 5-year-old boy who recently died after an extended battle with multiple medical issues. FDMJ and WEMA crews frequently responded to assist Adams, and the crews got to know his family well.
“We wanted to create an award, named after Dylan, that honored an employee who exhibited an above-average positive attitude, courage and dedication, traits that Dylan demonstrated under very tough circumstances,” said Allen.
The inaugural award went to paid firefighter Max Ambriz. Ambriz began as a volunteer firefighter with FDMJ and was later hired as a paid firefighter.
“If we could clone Max, we would,” said Allen. “Max is always working on something and can usually be found out in the bay working with our newest firefighters.”
The other two awards given out were paid firefighter of the year and volunteer firefighter of the year.
Paid firefighter of the year went to firefighter and paramedic Andy Hassler, a transfer from the Memphis Fire Department.
“Andy’s work ethic is second to none,” said Allen. “Andy took a huge risk leaving a large, well established department to come to Mt. Juliet, joining a new fire department that is being built from scratch; a department that is daily figuring out how to get things done. FDMJ is lucky to have someone of Andy’s caliber on our staff.”
Volunteer firefighter of the year went to Derek Hyde, one of the department’s original volunteer firefighters who served during the original Mt. Juliet WEMA program that was in place from 2008 until 2013. Hyde is also a paid lieutenant with the Brentwood Fire Department, where he serves in many leadership roles.
“Although Derek is married, has kids and works full time in the fire service, he continues to volunteer his time with FDMJ and can be counted on to respond to fires, if he is available, at all hours of the day and night. Derek has an amazingly positive attitude and is a great instructor. As deputy chief, I love seeing Derek arrive on scene. I know that I can give him any job from incident commander to loading hose, and he will do the job competently and without complaint.”
The 2017 FDMJ Christmas party and awards ceremony was funded entirely by the fire department and donations from the community. Del Webb at Lake Providence provided the facility, and Martin’s Barbecue, Publix and other local businesses helped out with food.
By Jacob Smith