Photos courtesy of Savannah Fire
From left: Capt. Gregory Jacobs, Engineer Ben Spence, and Advanced Firefighter Lucas Abrunzo.
To honor its best and brightest firefighters for their outstanding service and heroism, the Savannah Fire Department is honoring its most commendable employees for their contributions to the community in 2020, according to a Savannah Fire press announcement issued on Feb. 19.
Capt. Gregory Jacobs, Engineer Ben Spence, and Advanced Firefighter Lucas Abrunzo were named Fire Officer of the Year, Firefighter of the Year, and Rookie Firefighter of the Year, respectively, for 2020.
Each year the employees who make the most significant contributions to the department are nominated by their peers to receive these honors. Additionally, several units have been awarded commendations for their heroic actions in 2020. The honorees will be publicly recognized and presented with awards by Savannah Fire Chief Derik Minard.
Jacobs was selected as Chief Officer of the Year because of his distinguished leadership and 15 years of dedicated service to the Savannah Fire Department. The firefighters serving in his unit say his knowledge, experience and mentorship enable them to handle a high volume of calls and hazmat incidents.
Spence, an 18-year veteran of the Savannah Fire Department, was selected as Firefighter of the Year because of the powerful impact of his leadership. Spence is a passionate, hard-working, and resourceful leader who is always eager to build his skills and share his knowledge.
Abrunzo was selected as Rookie of the Year because he distinguished himself as a self-motivated and disciplined worker who constantly strives to improve. Since completing the training academy in June of 2019, Abrunzo has helped fight major fires, including the devastating fire at the massive Eastern Wharf construction site.
Additionally, Unit Commendations are awarded to employees who have performed service to the department in a highly commendable manner. The following units earned commendation ribbons for action taken in 2020:
Capt. Bryan Billotto, Advanced Firefighter Logan Gutierrez and Firefighter Austin Lewis, of Truck 2, B Shift, rescued residents from a burning apartment building in the 200 Block of West Montgomery Crossroad on October 20, 2020.
Fire Engineer Dewayne Hendrix, Fire Engineer Roger Williams, Advanced Firefighter Daniel Lucas, Fire Engineer William King, Fire Engineer William Fulton, Advanced Firefighter Stephen Williams, and Advanced Firefighter Michael Schonfeld of Engine 7 and Rescue 2, B Shift, revived an unresponsive electrocution patient in the 5700 Block of Lovett Drive on September 25, 2020.
Capt. Sam Coppola, Advanced Firefighter Brent Copenhaver, Advanced Firefighter Stephen Brierly and Firefighter Benjamin Potter of Engine 8, A Shift, revived an unresponsive patient in the 1000 Block of E. Victory Drive on November 11, 2020.
Advanced Firefighter Frank D’Amico, Capt. Christopher Hanks, Capt. Roy Howard, Advanced Firefighter Hector Melecio, Advanced Firefighter Josh Duran, Captain Christopher Fennell, Fire Engineer Justin Goldberg, Fire Engineer Michael Greene, Battalion Chief Nicholas Earley, Fire Engineer Tyler Hall, Advanced Firefighter Daniel Lucas and Advanced Firefighter Jeremy Veale of Rescue 1, Engine 3 and Truck 5, B Shift, rescued a motorist who had been knocked off a bridge on January 17, 2020.
Battalion Chief Joseph Shaw, Advanced Firefighter Rachel Scott, Advanced Firefighter Christopher Bargeron and Advanced Firefighter Darren Bradley of Engine 3, A Shift, revived a patient with no pulse in the 200 Block of E. Broad on November 18, 2020.
Capt. Michael Martin, Fire Engineer Michael Maier, Advanced Firefighter Todryk Rentiers and Firefighter Andrew Gill of Engine 1, B Shift, revived an unresponsive person in a vehicle at DeRenne Avenue & Paulsen Street on October 22, 2020.
Awards ceremony details will be announced at a later date.