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Howard County Honors Firefighter of the Year

The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services showed off its best on Wednesday night.

Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services administrators and local leaders gathered at Bridgeway Community Church in Columbia on Wednesday evening to honor some of the department's bravest members over the past year.

The Firefighter of the Year award went to Jeremy Clancy, who is a hazardous materials expert for the department and a technician at the Emergency Operations Center.

"His work with [the National Institute of Standards and Technology] has led to a new standard by the American Society for Testing and Materials for collecting bio terror substances," said department spokesperson Jackie Cutler.

"In our department, he’s known as the HazMat Go To Guy and is open to sharing his expertise with anyone willing to listen."

Also recognized was Battalion Chief Joe Dixon, a 19-year veteran who was awarded Fire Officer of the Year.

"[Dixon] has truly played an integral part in the success in many fire service careers and in making our department a more cohesive and efficient organization," said Battalion Chief Jose Sanchez, who emceed the event.

"As one lieutenant wrote, 'On any given day, my phone will ring and Chief will inquire as to what I have been doing to further promote the department’s mission and vision.' "

A bronze medal of valor was also awarded to the swift boat crew who rescued two kids on South Carlinda Avenue in Columbia during Tropical Storm Lee. Members of the crew were firefighters Albert Coleman and Christopher Thompson, Lt. Stanley Wurzburger and Capt. Joseph Calo.

The Quality of Care award went to the "CPR Dance Crew" as they are called within the department, for piloting a CPR response that increases the likelihood of patient survival, according to department officials. The crew members are: James Dwyer, Capt. Dale Becker, David Dillon, Chad Fronteras, Andrew Hoffman, Eric McIntosh, Max Payaggapandha, John Poole, Capt. Louis Winston,  Bernard Arnold and Jason Bodan.

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