2017 Awards Banquet Held for Firefighters May 15, 2018

The Coos Bay Volunteer Firefighters Association had their 2017 appreciation banquet earlier this month. This annual celebration brings volunteers, retirees, and staff together to look back at accomplishments and highlights from the previous year. Some of those highlights include:

  • The Coos Bay Fire Department responded to 3709 emergencies throughout 2017. Thirty-two of those responses were to house fires and three were fires in commercial buildings.
  • The department received a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for the purchase of Self-contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) at a cost of nearly $225,000.
  • The departments’ 43 firefighters participated in 4,433 hours of training in 2017. Several members of the department received certification from Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training and/or Oregon Health Authority.

Additionally, the department recognized several staff members that made extraordinary contributions to the operation of the department or service to the community.

  • Firefighter/Engineer Ben Rolicheck was awarded the Outstanding Service award for his work on pursuing grant opportunities. He wrote several proposals and was successful with a Coquille Tribal grant for the replacement of obsolete thermal imaging cameras, a Pacific Connector grant for Emergency Medical equipment, and a Bay Area Hospital grant for patient care supplies in a mass casualty or “Active Shooter” situation. 
  • Lieutenant Jason Guenther was awarded the Outstanding Service award for his work on retooling the Student Firefighter Program. Working with Southwestern Oregon Community College and North Bend Fire Department, Jason implemented a “Fire Camp” career introduction day for high school students curious about the fire service. He also spent three weeks in September teaching a basic firefighter academy for the nine student firefighters in our program.
  • Firefighter/Engineers Kevin Cunningham and Kevin Haagen, along with Lieutenant Steve Takis and Battalion Chief Dan Crutchfield, were also nominated for the Outstanding Service award for their contributions to the department.

The honor of Firefighter of the Year for 2017 went to Firefighter/Engineer Gabe Ouellette. Ouellette exemplifies the departments’ core values and consistently goes above and beyond to see that projects are completed with outstanding attention to detail. His positive attitude and strong work ethic are infectious. He is frequently relied on for his expertise in welding, building construction, maintenance and all things mechanical. There is a lengthy list of “extra” projects that Ouellette has taken on and he continues to demonstrate the behavior and character that make him worthy of this distinction. Ouellette received this distinction in 2015 as a volunteer firefighter and now as a respected member of the Coos Bay Fire Department career staff.       

GabeOuellette - FIrefighter of the Year