Greater Naples Fire Rescue District (GNFD) held its Inaugural Awards and Recognition Ceremony in the apparatus bays of Station 73 on February 12, 2016.
The evening featured the first appearance of the GNFD Honor Guard along with a powerful message delivered by Keynote Speaker, Miami-Dade Fire Chief Dave Downey. Several individuals were recognized for their significant achievements and contributions to the District during 2015. It is because of the dedication and commitment of others like these that make the successes of the District possible.
It gives me great pleasure to announce the following award recipients:
Fire Chief’s Values Award Driver/Engineer Tony Palermo
Employee of the Year Lieutenant Brandon Bunting – Firefighter Administrative Assistant Michele Packard – Civilian
Excellence in Service Lieutenant Mike Cruz – Fire and Life Safety Acting Lieutenant Jarett Cotter – Emergency Medical Services
Unit Citation Lieutenant Robert McGowan Acting Driver/Engineer David Perez Firefighter Stephen Thigpen
Employee of the Month
January – Lieutenant Brandon Bunting
February – Driver/Engineer Jake Beckman
March – Firefighter Kris Occhipinti
April – Lieutenant Chris Rossi
May – Lieutenant Brian Heath
June – Battalion Chief Corey Nelson
July – Lieutenant Craig Weinbaum
August – Firefighter Daniel Garretto
September – Battalion Chief Chris Tobin
October – Driver/Engineer Tony Palermo
November – Battalion Chief Sean Hunt
December – Receptionist Maria Mercedes Carrillo
The District would also like to express our sincere gratitude to the many business partners who supported us by sponsoring this great event.
Last week the Greater Naples Fire District proudly supported the annual Farm City BBQ. With several staff members attending and on-duty crews standing by to assist any medical events, this was a wonderful event to begin the holiday season. As we are now officially into the season I want to remind our community that your Fire District is collecting new, unwrapped toys in preparation for our annual Toy Drive Command. This year’s give away will be held on December 16 and 17 at Fire Station 73, located at 14575 Collier Blvd. Anyone wishing to make a donation may drop them off at any District location.
Monetary donations can be mailed to: Greater Naples Fire Rescue District
Attn: Toy Drive
14575 Collier Blvd.
Naples, Florida 34119
There will be a sign up for families to receive toys this Saturday, December 5th from 9 am until 12 pm at the Golden Gate Community Center- 4701 Golden Gate Pkwy. For additional information, please contact Michele Packard, at 239-348-7540 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week Greater Naples Fire Rescue District hosted live fire origin and cause investigation training.
Agencies from Collier and Lee County Arson Task Force, Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Collier County Code Enforcement, and Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office participated in several intentionally set fires that allowed investigators the opportunity to recognize the origin and cause of fires in a controlled environment.
The District would like to thank the Naples Botanical Gardens for generously donating the structure for the purpose of this training.
Last week the District took possession of its newest fire apparatus, Engine 75, that will be housed at the District’s busiest station on Santa Barbara Blvd.
Yesterday the Collier County Board of Commissioners approved the Interlocal Agreement for Greater Naples Fire Rescue District to provide fire services to the Isles of Capri Fire District and support legislation to annex the Isles of Capri Fire District and Collier County (District One) into the Greater Naples Fire Rescue District.
I met with the Isles of Capri members this morning and everyone is eager to join together and enhance efficiencies and effectiveness to the Greater Naples Community. The Interlocal Agreement is effective October 1, 2015.
This week we are celebrating the retirement of Deputy Chief Nick Biondo after over 26 years of service.
Deputy Chief Biondo began his career with the East Naples Fire Control & Rescue District on January 5, 1989 and will retire on August 14, 2015. During his tenure Chief Biondo served as Union President, Collier County Fire Marshals Association President and has been a long time member and supporter of the Florida Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association. Deputy Chief Biondo became the officer in charge of Fire Prevention (now Fire & Life Safety) in 2002 and has significantly contributed to the success and growth of the Division. He also has played a major role in the success of the District’s Toy Drive Command for many years.
We are very thankful for Deputy Chief Biondo’s professional and personal contributions to the District and the citizens of the Greater Naples community and he truly will be missed.
I am pleased to announce the District has taken receipt of its inaugural fire service Challenge Coin.
Challenge coins are a long standing tradition in many fire rescue agencies as well as the police and military to honor special occasions, such as VIP arrivals, promotions, retirements and anniversaries of landmark dates.
In addition, many agencies have found coins to be a valued gift for dignitaries and visitors, as well as an ideal fundraising item. Such a coin is a timeless source of pride for both the firefighters, civilian employees and members of the public.
Anyone interested in purchasing a Greater Naples Fire Rescue District Challenge Coin can do so at the District’s Administrative Headquarters located at 14575 Collier Blvd.
— Kingman Schuldt, Fire Chief
This week the District welcomed Mr. Rob Low as the newest member of the Greater Naples Fire Rescue District.
Mr. Low will be serving as the Deputy Chief of Support Services, replacing Deputy Chief Nick Biondo who will soon be retiring.
Deputy Chief Low has more than 23 years of experience in diverse fire rescue organizations and has served as the Haz Mat Division Manager for the FEMA Department of Homeland Security since 2010.
We are pleased to have Deputy Chief Low join the Greater Naples Fire Family.
I would also like to remind everyone the District is kicking of its annual Back to School Sneaker Drive. This year we are teaming up with the Golden Gate Kiwanis to make a difference in the lives of our community’s children.
Our firefighters will be collecting new sneakers that will be distributed to Collier County elementary and middle school children. Gently worn shoes of all kinds will also be collected and raise money for the Golden Gate Kiwanis Club to help the children in our community.
Donations can be dropped of between July 23 and September 18 at Fire Station 73 located at 14575 Collier Blvd. or Station 20 located at 4798 Davis Blvd.
Last week the District celebrated the arrival of Ladder 21 and this weekend the community got its first look at the new apparatus in the Naples 4th of July Parade.
Over the next few weeks, maintenance staff will be mounting equipment and preparing the truck for deployment. The District will be conducting a “wet-down” ceremony which is a ritual that dates back to the 1800’s in which firefighters commission a new fire apparatus.
The District is also expecting delivery of an air and light unit during the final quarter of 2015 and is working diligently to evaluate various specifications and purchasing options for the replacement of future fire engines.