Savannah Fire Honors Top Firefighters
SAVANNAH, GA (Tuesday, April 20, 2021) – The Savannah Fire Department is proud to honor its best and brightest for outstanding service and heroism in 2020. 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 top 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 Fire 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. Jacobs is known as a selfless leader and teacher who invests in the growth and development of his subordinates.
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. His peers admire him, and his supervisors rely on his critical thinking in emergency situations.
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. He has successfully achieved Hazardous Materials and Emergency Medical Technician certifications and now works with the department’s lead Hazmat company.
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.