MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
The Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Department was the first organization to be presented with the Fire Chiefs Award. Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor presented Volunteer Chief Randy Kuenzli, President Donnie Wells and the entire Bladensburg volunteer membership with the "Flame" award at their company meeting on November 5.
Chief Bashoor strongly believes the Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Department has gone above and beyond being an all-volunteer station providing both suppression and emergency medical services for the past 9 years. Chief Bashoor was accompanied by Deputy Fire Chief Ben Barksdale, Emergency Services Commander, in making the presentation. Typically, the Fire Chiefs "Flame" Award is bestowed upon an individual. This is the first time an entire organization has received the award.
Chief Bashoor provided the following comments while making the award presentation.
I am honored to be here tonight - to recognize the efforts of ordinary people, doing extraordinary things, to help other ordinary people.
Many times, I have mused about the United Nations of member states your membership represents - I am proud of each and every one of you, and proud to recognize the Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Department as an integral part of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Dept. And while I'd love to see more of you call Prince Georges County home, I am humbled by your choice to serve Prince George's County and I am proud of the regional diversity you represent and the service you provide.
Our job, our mission through that service, is to bring calm to chaos. Organizationally, to ensure we maintain the public’s trust - we must extol a value system in the execution of that service. The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department value statement is called THE PROMISE. Trust, honor, ethics, professionalism, responsiveness, outreach, mentorship, inspiration, safety, and energetic enthusiasm.
The service we deliver is universal - in most cases the people we deliver that service to, don't know us. They don't put labels on us - they really don't care whether we are volunteer or career, black or white, male or female. In most cases what they REALLY care about is that someone who knows what to do, is there to help. I believe your service has represented THE PROMISE well.
Nine years ago, the Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Department embarked upon an experiment in THE PROMISE. I think the following quote from “Report From Engine Co. 82” really captures what you set out to do - and indeed, what you've done. That quote says, “Romantic visions of courage and heroism are the stuff from which novels are constructed, but the reality of courage and heroism to a firefighter is hard, dirty work.” Fire or EMS, that’s what you’ve been through for the past 4,730,400 minutes.
9 Years – some supported, some doubted, some helped - as we move forward, make no mistake, there will be challenges ahead! I pledge to work with all of the volunteer corporations to provide the highest level of service possible to the communities we serve. We will continue to strive for recognition of a One-Department operation, which also celebrates individualism. The courage, heroism, and selflessness demonstrated by our combined career staff and volunteers should be celebrated – not weakened by pointless bickering or name-calling.
There are proud Volunteer corporations all over Prince George’s County, who provide service free-of-charge every day. By now, however, you know – that you have achieved and succeeded where no other Volunteer Fire Department in Prince George’s County has been able to succeed. Congratulations reaching this 9 year milestone - providing continuous all volunteer fire and emergency medical transport service.
Knowing that we have done something in our lives that is honorable and not cowardly - we are able to live in a peaceful humanity. I can think of no more stirring a symbol of honorable humanity, than that of a firefighter or EMT - add the fact that you volunteer to lay your life on the line for another, with no expectation of anything in return - I salute you.
The Fire Chiefs award is normally presented to an individual. Tonight - Chief Kuenzli and President Wells, In recognition of the Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Department’s continuous and uninterrupted volunteer service for the past 9 years, I am honored to present your company the first Prince George’s County Fire Chiefs award to be presented to a Volunteer Fire Department. Thank you all for your service.