Editor’s Note: The Bedford Fire Department will kick off Fire Prevention Week with an open house featuring pumpkin decorating and a truck wash from noon to 3 pm on Sat., October 8.
Charlie Dias and Chris Gonzalez were recognized as co-Firefighters-of-the-Year at the Bedford Fire Department’s annual Badge-Pinning and Awards Night last Thursday.
Firefighter-of-the-Year is a new award, with nominations and votes limited to the eight shift officers. The criterion is “the firefighter who has best represented and served the department.”
Chief David Grunes said Dias and Gonzalez “share the award this year for their professionalism and dedication to the department and community.”
Grunes said Dias “embodies what we want – he just likes being a firefighter. He always volunteers to do the hard work.” Gonzalez, the department’s emergency medical service coordinator, has “taken ownership of the paramedics program, the chief said.
Also during the proceedings, special recognition for meritorious service went to firefighter David Dillen. “While off duty and out to dinner with his family, a diner at a nearby table began choking. He performed abdominal thrusts and cleared the diner’s airway,” Grunes recounted.
Three department members were cited for longevity: Firefighter Sam Panzeri for 25 years of service and Lieutenants Mark Daly and Brian Oates, each for 20 years.
Badge-pinning is a long-standing tradition to honor new or promoted members of the department. Daly’s lieutenant badge was pinned by his children, and firefighter candidates Gavin Heffernan and Dan Hansen were pinned by members of their families.
The Pinning Ceremony
All images in the Pinning Ceremony gallery are by Meaghan Sturgis (c) 2022, all rights reserved