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Vergennes and Ferrisburgh firefighters earn statewide recognition

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Posted on July 31, 2017 |
By Will DiGravio



n - Verg Ferrisburgh firemen honored Jenkins.jpg
RETIRED FERRISBURGH FIRE Chief Robert Jenkins stands beside a fire truck named in his honor last August. Earlier this month, the Vermont State Firefighters Association named Jenkins their Senior Firefighter of the Year. Courtesy photo

ADDISON COUNTY — Firefighters Robert Jenkins of Ferrisburgh and Brian Fraser of Vergennes bring different strengths to their respective departments. But they share at least one characteristic: dedication to service to their communities.

Jenkins’s and Fraser’s service and skills were recognized this month when the Vermont State Firefighters Association gave two of the organization’s top seven statewide awards to the these men.

As reported in the July 24 edition of the Independent, honorees at the VSFA convention in Rutland included Donald Patterson of Middlebury (Firefighter of the Year), Bristol Assistant Chief Eric Forand (Chief of the Year), and Anthony Robideau of Bristol (Youth Firefighter of the Year). The two other Addison County winners were Jenkins, who was tapped as Senior Firefighter of the Year, and Fraser, the VSFA’s Emergency Vehicle Technician of the Year.

Fraser first joined the fire service in 1997, and has served as a member of the Underhill, Jericho, Bristol and Weybridge fire departments. He joined the Vergennes department in 2008 and two years ago was appointed to the rank of captain. In addition to being a heavy rescue technician, he is has certification in fighting interior fires.

According to Vergennes Fire Chief Jim Breur, who nominated Fraser for the award, it is the time Fraser dedicates to the department that makes him such an asset.

Fraser serves as one of the department’s cadet advisors, where he spends hours training new recruits.

He also maintains the department’s fleet of ambulances and helps keep all technical aspects of the station in top shape. 

“He spends a lot of time up at the station working on vehicles and helping keep them in top-notch shape,” Breur said. “He takes the lead on them and he’s really got a passion for keeping everything in the best condition possible.”     VERGENNES FIREFIGHTER BRIAN Fraser was named Emergency Vehicle Technician of the Year for the state of Vermont. But his dedication goes beyond vehicle maintenance to advising cadet, training recruits and gaining certifications himself in different firefighting techniques.

Courtesy photo

Meanwhile, Robert Jenkins first became a firefighter in the early 1960s, when he signed on with the Vergennes Fire Department. In 1970 he became the fire chief of Ferrisburgh and served in that role until 1983. Since then, he has remained heavily involved in all aspects of the fire department, where he has served as a mentor to generations of firefighters throughout the county.

“He’s somebody I can always count on for training and guidance,” said current Ferrisburgh Fire Chief Bill Wager, who nominated Jenkins for the award.

An honorary member of the New Haven Fire Department, Jenkins is well-respected by firefighters throughout the state, as well as Addison County. Wager said he will often drive by departments in other parts of the state and see Jenkins’ car parked outside.

According to Wager, Jenkins was one of the first people to form a support team for firefighter funerals.

“He’s always got time for his brother firefighters,” Wager said.

Though Jenkins holds the title of “Retired Chief” in Ferrisburgh, he has remained an active member of the department, hardly ever missing a function or training. Last year, the department dedicated an expensive new firetruck to Jenkins.

“He’s a mentor. He’s always looking for a teaching moment,” Wager said. “Bob is a firefighter’s firefighter.” 

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