2020 Ohio Fire Service Hall of Fame Award Recipients

Citizen Award

Steve Pozniak

In the early morning hours of Jan. 26, 2020, Steve Pozniak was working as a security guard at a Cleveland apartment complex when he heard screaming from a nearby townhouse.

Citizen Award

Marcus Brigham

On Oct. 3, 2019, an elderly Dayton man found himself trapped in the basement of his Clement Avenue home after discovering smoke coming from an electrical outlet on the first floor. With no means of escape and no line of sight to the street, the night could have had a tragic end for this man if not for the efforts of neighborhood resident Marcus Brigham.

Citizen Award

Christopher Papouras

In the early morning hours of March 1, 2020, Christopher Papouras was jarred awake by the sound of a car crash outside his West Hill Drive home in Gates Mills.

Distinguished Service Award

Jack Rupp

Firefighters don’t just make a commitment to a career; they make a lifelong vow to protect the people they love and improve the quality of life in their communities. Through his unwavering dedication and exceptional leadership, Jack Rupp has devoted nearly 50 years to making a difference and improving the fire service in his community.

Distinguished Service Award

Scott Skeldon

As a family man, Scott Skeldon knows the importance of being there for the ones you love when they need you the most. As a career firefighter, he has spent the last four decades of his life dedicated to doing the very same thing for those in his community.

First Responder Award

Josh Robertson

On July 6, 2019, the Heights Hillcrest Dispatch Center received a report of a house fire on Greyton Road in Cleveland shortly before 1 a.m. Cleveland Heights Police Officer Josh Robertson and his partner were the first to respond to the scene and, upon their arrival, learned a 6-year-old boy was still inside the home.

Valor Award

Ryan Sprunger

On Dec. 22, 2019, firefighter Ryan Sprunger of the East Wayne Joint Fire District was on his way to the fire station when he intercepted a call reporting two people who had fallen through the ice of a family pond.

Ohio Fire Department of the Year

Erie Valley Fire & Rescue, Erie Valley, Ohio

Erie Valley Fire & Rescue fire department was formed by a joint venture between the Village of Navarre and Bethlehem Township in 2016, to provide more resources and a more advanced life support/firefighting crew to their communities.

Ohio Fire Officer of the Year

Captain Grant Burns, Colerain Township Department of Fire and EMS

Captain Grant Burns has served 33 years at the Colerain Township Department of Fire and EMS, currently serving as the station captain for Station 103, the Unit 2 training coordinator for station training, and the special operations training officer.

Ohio Fire Service Instructor of the Year

Lieutenant Scott Wallace, Dayton Fire Department

Over the past 25 years of service in the Ohio Fire Service, Lieutenant Scott Wallace has earned a reputation of dedication and passion for instruction in his chosen profession. For more than 15 years, he has served as the lead instructor for multiple Dayton Fire Department recruit academies and the Dayton Fire Department Training Center, and has developed initiatives, programs and improvements that benefit the students directly and the department fundamentally.

Ohio Fire Prevention Educator of the Year

Firefighter Josh Whitehead, West Carrollton Fire Department

Firefighter Josh Whitehead has served the West Carrollton Department for 11 years, as firefighter, paramedic and fire prevention educator. He has earned a reputation in the West Carrollton community as a role model in fire prevention education.

Ohio Fire Educator Lifetime Achievement Award

Chief Jim Steele, Van Wert Fire Department

For 37 of the past 40 years as a firefighter, Chief Jim Steele has also served the Van Wert Fire Department and community as an instructor. His service has encompassed the entire state of Ohio by leading the changes in Ohio’s training curriculum for many years, promoting professionalism throughout the fire service.