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Sullivan named ‘Firefighter of the Year’

MIDDLEBURY — Addison County firefighters proved not only stellar hosts for the 2011 Vermont State Firefighters Association (VSFA) annual convention this past weekend, they also took a majority of statewide awards conferred this year by the organization.
Five area firefighters — three from Bristol and two from Middlebury — were called to the stage at the VSFA’s annual awards ceremony held at the Middlebury American Legion Hall on Saturday, July 23.
Middlebury firefighter Tom Sullivan was named the state’s “Firefighter of the Year.” Sullivan has served with distinction during his approximately two decades on the force, according to Middlebury Fire Chief Rick Cole.
“He is always willing to help wherever needed,” Cole said of Sullivan.
He added Sullivan, a Middlebury College employee, is very diligent in performing the tasks that are assigned to him and is always eager to take on new responsibilities.
Former Bristol Fire Chief Mark Bouvier earned recognition as “Senior Firefighter of the Year.” Bouvier remains active with the Bristol Fire Department, where his lengthy experience and skills continue to come in handy. Bouvier has also developed quite a knack with a camera, which he put to good use during the VSFA convention hosted by the Addison County Firefighters Association (ACFA) in Middlebury this past weekend. It was the second time since 2007 that the ACFA took on hosting responsibilities.
Bouvier’s successor, current Bristol Fire Chief John “Peeker” Heffernan, earned the “Community Service Award.” That award, Bouvier noted, was in recognition of Heffernan’s civic contributions that go beyond firefighting. Those contributions have included Heffernan’s installation of multiple dry hydrants around town without compensation; his service as a selectboard member; and his ongoing donation of labor and heavy equipment to the annual Three Day Stampede Toward a Cure for Cystic Fibrosis, to be held again in Bristol this weekend, July 29-31.
Also receiving statewide awards at the VSFA ceremony on Sept. 23 were Middlebury Fire Department Lt. Pat Shaw, who was named “Emergency Maintenance Technician of the Year,” and Bristol Fire Department Lt. Eric Forand, honored as “Line Officer of the Year.”
The 2011 convention featured, among other things, muster games, a banquet, an Honor Guard muster (without musical accompaniment this year), fireworks, and a memorial service at St. Stephens Episcopal Church at which deceased firefighters were honored. Among those honored was Middlebury firefighter Adam Myers, who died in a car accident on July 20 while vacationing with his family in Alabama. Funeral arrangements for Myers were still being sorted out as the Addison Independent went to press. Cole said he anticipated Middlebury firefighters will play a role at the funeral.
Reporter john Flowers is at [email protected].

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