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Alaska Fire Service Awards


The Annual Fire Service Awards to outstanding members of the fire service in Alaska each year at the Alaska Fire Conference Awards Banquet. The awardees are nominated by their peers for exceptional service to their communities during the previous year.

  • Firefighter of the Year
  • Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year
  • William A. Hagevig Fire Service Instructor of the Year
  • Ken Akerley Fire Service Leadership Award

Application Process

Please submit a letter of recommendation detailing why the individual is being nominated for the award. The letter should be a concise and detailed explanation of why your nominee is the best candidate for the award. In many cases the members of the selection committee do not know the nominee and the letter is the only method for the committee to base their selection.

Selection Committee

The selection committee will consist of the State Fire Marshal or designee and the awardees from the previous year. If an awardee from the previous year is not available the most recent awardee from that category will substitute.

Nominations are due by close of business day on July 31, 2024  and can be emailed, faxed, dropped off, or mailed to:

Division of Fire and Life Safety
ATTN: Colt Graham
5700 E. Tudor Road
Anchorage, AK 99504
Phone: (907) 269-5061
Fax: (907) 269-0134
Email: Colt Graham or Mark Brauneis

Presentation of Awards

The awards will be presented to the recipients by the State Fire Marshal.

Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year


Fire and Life Safety educators are dedicated to teaching community members to be active participants in the safety of their families and friends. It is through fire and life safety programs that the fire service can most efficiently save lives and property. The Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year award was first presented in 2003.


The candidate must exhibit an extraordinary commitment to educating their community about fire prevention and fire safety during the year. This can be demonstrated in many ways. A few examples are:

  1. The Fire and Life Safety Educator developed and implemented a new fire prevention or fire safety program that improved the fire safety of members of their community.
  2. The Fire and Life Safety Educator displayed an extreme commitment to the members of their community to ensure the fire prevention message was received.

List of Recipients:

Year Name Fire Department/Agency
2003 Ernie Misewicz Fairbanks Fire Department
2004 Jim Hill Ketchikan Fire Department
2005 Elsie Vent Huslia Volunteer Fire Department
2006 Craig Torrey Anchorage Fire Department
2007 Gary Hale Central Emergency Services
2008 Andy Tighe Ketchikan FD and North Tongass VFD
2009 Nikki Pereira Anchorage Fire Stoppers
2010 Mahlon Greene Division of Fire and Life Safety
2011 Traci Davis South Tongass VFD
2012 Kyle Green North Pole FD
2013 Steve Bartholomew Girdwood VFD
2014 None N/A
2015 Ron Templeton University FD
2016 N/A American Red Cross of Alaska
2017 David Mattox North Star VFD
2018 Kevin Haywood North Pole FD
2019 Lisa Shield AK Division of Fire and Life Safety
2022 John Adams Capital City Fire & Rescue

Firefighter of the Year


The firefighter is the foundation of the fire service. Firefighters serve their communities in many different ways; responding to emergencies, organizing safety events and being role models of community responsibility. The Firefighter of the Year award was first presented in 1987.


The candidate must demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to firefighting. This can be evidenced by outstanding actions on the fireground or at other functions in their community during the year. This can be demonstrated in many ways. A few examples are:

  1. Extraordinary rescue following operational policies and training.
  2. Development of a wellness program that dramatically improves the health of the members of the department.
  3. Outstanding effort to improve the departments standing in the community.

List of Recipients:

Year Name Fire Department
1987 Ralph Crane Anchorage Fire Department
1994 Robert Plumb Cordova Fire Department
1995 Sam Evanoff Central Emergency Services
1997 Alan Dick Fairbanks Fire Department
1999 Bud Jones Alyeska Pipeline Fire Rescue
2000     Robert Dennard Sitka Fire Department
2002 Barry Hayes North Pole Fire Department
2005 Mark Malone South Tongass Volunteer Fire Department
2006 Casey Johnson Anchorage Fire Department
2008 Sven Pearson Capitol City Fire Rescue
2009 Kevin Wallace Anchorage Fire Department
2010 Michael Ascone Anchorage Fire Department
2011 Jim Pickett Fire Protection Area No. 1
2012 Autumn Ludwig Bear Creek Fire/EMS Dept.
2013 Eric Van Dusen Butte Volunteer Fire Department
2014 Shane Powers Fairbanks Fire Department
2015 Sean Corrigan Seward Fire Department
2016 Austin Chapman Seward Fire Department
2017 Adam Heineken North Star VFD
2018 Meghan McClain Anchorage Fire Department
2019 Christopher Widener Anchorage Fire Department
2020 Lisa Musick Seward Fire Department
2022 James Johnstone Anchorage Fire Department

William A. Hagevig Fire Service Instructor of the Year


In 1969, at the request of the Alaska State Firefighters Association, the Fire Service Training Program was established in the State Department of Education, and William Bill Hagevig was the first Supervisor. Bill was a captain in the Ketchikan Fire Department when he agreed to move to Juneau to take on the daunting challenge of developing a program of fire training for the entire state.

For many years Bill was fire training in Alaska. With nothing to use as a model he proceeded to use his experience and his intuition to develop a program unique to Alaska. He had a number of beliefs that he strongly adhered to over the years. One was that the volunteer firefighter must be trained on the same basis as the paid firefighter. He believed that professionalism did not lie in whether one was paid or volunteer, but in the abilities of the individual. The training coming out of his office reflected this belief. There was no distinction drawn between paid firefighter and volunteer firefighter.

He developed the Itinerant Instructor program, whereby well trained fire instructors from all over Alaska were sent to many remote and not-so-remote areas delivering training designed specifically for those areas. Bill himself did most of the travel at first, establishing trust and a reputation for delivering quality training.

Bill believed that it was important to provide hands-on live fire training, which was not always available in smaller communities. He had a dream of regional fire training centers, all of which would be able to provide appropriate training to any fire department that wanted it for their people. Bill worked with the Alaska State Firefighters Association and the Alaska Fire Chiefs Association to realize this dream, and saw the construction of five regional fire training centers completed during his tenure at Fire Service Training.

Bill Hagevig was Alaskas fire service training role model for over 16 years. He was creative and resourceful, as well as a fine instructor. Above all, Bills dedication to and belief in THE professionalism of both volunteer and paid personnel was boundless.

The William A. Hagevig Fire Service Instructor of the Year award was first presented in 1990.


The candidate must exhibit an extraordinary commitment to training and education of members of the fire service during the year. This can be demonstrated in many ways. A few examples are:

  1. The instructor sets a leadership example for students during training programs.
  2. The instructor developed a training program or course that improves the safety of firefighters.
  3. The instructor goes above and beyond to ensure their students are prepared to function on the fireground.

List of Recipients:

Year      Name Fire Department/Agency
1990 Loren "Bud" Rotroff North Star FD and Fire Service Training
1991 James Kenshalo Anchorage Fire Department
1993 Michael Huckaby Central Emergency Services
1994 William A. Lankford ARCO Fire Department
1995 Phillip Rounds University of Alaska Fairbanks FD
1997 Steve Schreck Capital City Fire Rescue
1999 Gaylen Brevik Fire Service Training
2000 John Goucher Ketchikan Fire Department
2001 William Hedrick North Star Fire Department
2002 Tod Chambers North Pole Fire Department
2003 Scott Elmer Homer Fire Department
2004 Jan Dick Fire Service Training
2005 Brian Davis, Scott Raygor and Tod Chambers Fairbanks Area
2007 Daniel Grimes Fairbanks International Airport FD
2008 Jack Smith North Slope Borough Fire Department
2009 Sean Wisner Alyeska Pipeline Fire Rescue
2010 Al Stevens Sitka Fire Department
2011 Alex Boyd Anchorage Fire Department
2012 Nathan Young Capital City Fire/Rescue
2013 Brian Balega Anchorage Fire Department
2014 Paul Urbano Anchorage Fire Department
2015 Jayson Russell North Star VFD
2016 Daniel Kuhnert North Star VFD
2017 Jason Buist Fort Wainwright Fire & Emergency
2018 Joseph Dingman North Slope Borough Fire Department
2019 Kyle Carrington AK Division of Fire and Life Safety
2020 Gordon Descutner Anchorage Fire Department
2021 Jeffrey McDonald Anchorage Fire Department
2022 Jim Stewart Anchorage Fire Department

Ken Akerley Fire Service Leadership Award


AkerleyAssistant Chief Ken Akerleys dedication and passion for the fire service, safety, instruction and rural Alaska communities exemplified fire service leadership. He worked through out his life to promote teamwork among the fire service in Alaska in order to improve firefighter and community safety. Ken instilled an enthusiasm for fire service leadership in everyone with whom he worked or taught.

The Ken Akerley Leadership Award was initially awarded as the Fire Officer of the Year award and was first presented in 2006.


The candidate must exhibit an extraordinary commitment to leading their Fire Department and has earned the trust and respect of their subordinates and peers. This can be evidenced by outstanding actions on the fireground or at other functions within their community during the year. A few examples are:

  1. Implementing, supporting and enforcing safety policies to improve firefighter safety for their department.
  2. Mentoring new and current personnel to improve their education and skills preparing them for a long career in the fire service.
  3. Dramatically improve the operational effectiveness of their department by increasing communication between department members.

Leadership can occur at any level, candidates may be any member of the fire service from firefighter to Chief.

List of Recipients:

Year Name Fire Department/Agency
2006 Geoff Coon North Pole Fire Department
2007 Archie Ferguson Kotzebue Fire Department
2008 Mitch Flynn Steese Area Fire Department
2008 David Squires Seward Fire Department
2009 Doug Schrage Anchorage Fire Department
2010 Pete Brown Aniak Fire Department
2011 Steve Manchester Gustavus Volunteer Fire Department
2012 David Tyler AK Division of Fire and Life Safety
2013 Buddy Lane North Pole Fire Department
2014 Michael Holzmueller Steese Volunteer Fire Department
2015 Travis Meads Capital City Fire/Rescue
2016 Eddie Athey Seward Fire Department
2017 Michael Weber Valdez Fire Department
2018 Forrest Kuiper University Fire Department
2019 Brian Keene Anchorage Fire Department
2020 Ben Knowles Unalaska Fire Department
2022 Justin Boddy Ft. Wainwright FD