East Manatee Fire Rescue

Annual Awards and Recognition

Posted: April 18, 2024

The East Manatee Fire Rescue District held their Annual Promotions, Awards, and Recognition Program Monday night during the meeting of the Board of Fire Commissioners.

New Firefighter Oath of Office:

Firefighter Tim Pierce and Firefighter Nicholas Miller took their oath of office to become Firefighters at East Manatee Fire Rescue.

Top Awards:

  • Rookie of the Year awarded to Brandon Tackett.
  • Firefighter of the Year awarded to Jason Morrow.
  • Fire Officer of the Year awarded to Josh Dillard.

Promotions:

  • Promoted to the rank of Engineer: Brian Bjork, Kevin Harvill, Jordan Rogers, Tyler Schuele, and Ben Stasurak.
  • Promoted to the rank of Lieutenant: Michael Guard.
  • Promoted to the rank of Captain: Josh Dillard.

Length of Service Awards:

  • 5 years of county service to Engineer Brian Bjork, Enigneer Ben Stasurak, Engineer Tyler Schuele, Firefighter Ben Davidson and Firefighter Dominick Reale.
  • 10 years of county service to Firefighter John Creaser.
  • 15 years of county service to Firefighter Chris Burns and Administrative Secretary Dawn Graf.
  • 20 years of county service to Firefighter Andrew Stark.
  • 25 years of county service to Lieutenant Fred Young and Lieutenant Erik Nicholson.
  • 45 years of county service to Chief Lee Whitehurst.

Certificates of Appreciation – 

(A shift)      Engineer Tyler Schuele                Engineer Brian Bjork

(B shift)      Lieutenant Nathan Mahon          Firefighter Brandon Tinyes

(C shift)      Engineer Tanner Carlson            Firefighter Bret Kanapaux

Chief’s Unit Citation:

February 22, 2023, Parrish and North River were dispatched to a worker who was trapped in a collapsed
hole where he was submerged below the waist 10 feet below ground. Technical rescue teams from
Manatee and Hillsborough Counties responded but were in need of a ladder truck to complete the
rescue. Ladder 619 was dispatched with Lieutenant Adam McDaniel and Firefighters Isaac Libby and
Conner Reilly. East Manatee TRT Commander Paul Wren was also on scene. Ladder 619 was utilized
as an elevated pulley for the rope over the hole that eventually pulled the victim to safety after a fivehour
operation. All 27 responders from the various Manatee County agencies are awarded the Manatee
County Fire Chiefs’ Associations Unit Citation including:
– Paul Wren
– Adam McDaniel
– Isaac Libby
– Connor Reilly

Hurricane Campaign Award:

August 30, 2023, 22 members of the Cedar Hammock, Southern Manatee, North River, West Manatee, and East Manatee Fire Rescue responded as part of an engine strike team from Manatee County to the big bend area of Florida following the landfall of Hurricane Idalia where they conducted firefighting and search and rescue support to Suwanee County for 10 days.

  • William Hall
  • Eric Hoying
  • Daniel Lane
  • Luis Rivera
  • Sean Martin

September 1, 2023, four members of West Manatee, North River, and East Manatee Fire Rescue
responded as part of a regional tanker strike team from Tampa Bay to the big bend area of Florida
following the landfall of Hurricane Idalia where they conducted firefighting and search and rescue
support to Madison County for 11 days.

  • Matt Talaska

Special Operations Award:
Awarded to an individual who is a member of their agencies Special Operation Team, attended all
training events in 2023, completed all 5 operational level qualifications, operations level
hazardous materials training, and introduction (700) and intermediate (300) incident management.

  • Shawn Battick
  • Adam McDaniel
  • Steve Ryckman

Honor Guard Award:
Presented to an individual who is a member of the Manatee County Honor Guard, who has served for at
least one year, attended all training events in 2023 and has participated in 3 or more events.

  • Jerry Groover
  • Matt Johnson
  • Larry Haymore
  • Ryan Berggren
  • Kyle Lamson

Exemplary Duty Commendation Award:
Awarded to an individual who performed a highly credible accomplishment or service bringing public
acclaim or appreciation to the member, their department, or the profession as a result of training,
devotion to duty, or service to the public.
Peer Support Team – past and present –

  • William Hall
  • Paul Wren
  • Charles Reid
  • Chris Galbraith
  • Joe Koehler
  • Jim Darby
  • Chad Gamble
  • Luke Fay
  • Rob Day
  • Jon Carter
  • Sean Martin
  • Jason Morrow

Lifesaving Award:
Awarded to individuals who have successfully saved a life (whether on or off duty), which would
have otherwise been lost, through prompt and alert action and under some degree of hazard to the
recipient.
On May 4, 2023, off-duty Firefighters Chris Sheedy and Tyler Gingras saved the life of one of their
co-workers, off-duty Lieutenant Robert Day after an unfortunate boating accident. Both Firefighters,
without hesitation, jumped into action to take life saving measures to save Day’s life. Sheedy and
Gingras treated Day’s serious injuries the best they could with what they had available on the
crippled vessel as they were towed to the boat ramp to meet EMS, Parrish Fire Rescue, and Aero med.
As on­ duty firefighters, we have the time to prepare for what we are about to face while
responding to an incident. These two professionals displayed calmness and the “know-how” to react
to a sudden situation that happened right in front of them.

  • Chris Sheedy
  • Tyler Gingras