Career – Marcus E. Stokes – Tampa Fire Rescue

Firefighter Stokes has been employed by Tampa Fire Rescue for a little over 5 years. He is a certified Paramedic and is qualified in hydraulics, fire pump and apparatus, aerial apparatus operator, and is a Hazardous Materials Technician. During his career he has has been presented with the following awards, Espirit De Corps Tampa Fire Rescue, First Responder of the Year 2010 and Liberty Mutual Fire Mark Award in 2010.

Firefighter Stokes has been credited with saving the life of a 1 year old baby, from a second story of a structure fire that destroyed 10 units and damaged many others.

Dispatcher – Linda DeBree – Highlands County Fire & EMS

I had the experience of working with Linda while she was dispatching for Highlands County Fire & EMS. When I say “experience” that is exactly what I mean. There was hardly ever a shift that went by (if Linda was working) that it wasn’t eventful. She was always so funny, good natured, and always lending an ear if someone needed to just talk or vent.

Around here & EMS she was known for her “Red Velvet Cake”. Man … she could bake a mean cake. People couldn’t wait to have a birthday or something so we could get one of Linda’s cakes.

And to be honest, Linda didn’t need a reason or excuse, she just loved to make people happy & her cakes definitely made us happy!
One of our favorite things to do was to pick on her when she would say “you’s” or “you’s guys”.

As much as we would pick on her & laugh about it she never stopped saying it. She was a trooper. She loved helping train new dispatchers. She loved the role playing. She would act as someone calling 911 for an emergency & come off with something sometimes so far fetched that we would laugh like crazy.

Once you let Linda into your life, she was always there. She was cool, she was crazy, she was funny, & if you knew her you just had to love her.

I guess God was tired of sharing her with us so he took her back. Maybe he needed a good laugh too.

Forestry – Timothy Hawks

Our selection is Senior Forest Ranger, Timothy Hawks. Tim has shown exemplary commitment to the Division of Forestry and its mission “to protect and manage Florida’s forest resources.” The Division of Forestry appreciates the opportunity presented by the Florida State Firefighter’s Association in recognizing our employee with this distinguished award.

During his 30 years of service to the Division of Forestry Timothy has received numerous awards and recognitions for his accomplishments, along with many National and State certifications that enhanced his qualifications. His folder also contains many letters of appreciation for well done jobs and projects.

Volunteer – Chief Scott Mann – West Sebring Fire Department

Chief Scott Mann joined West Sebring in 1994 and has served in many positions in the organization taking over as the Fire Chief in 2005. Since Scott took over as Chief with West Sebring he has taken the organization to the next level. Scott looked at each area of the organization, developed an improvement plan and has flawlessly executed improving of the service level, facilities, training, membership, financial well being, response rateand over all morale of West Sebring. Scott manages the daily operations, the 37 active firefighters, the assessment budget as well as line officer responsibilities. Scott has been the incident commander of multiple major incidents in the district. At the same time Scottmanages a full time career as well as the pride of his life his wife and daughter. Those who know Scott talk about his dedication to our department and the fire service.

Above and beyond Scott’s daily responsibilities, as Chief of West Sebring, he continues to serve in an active firefighting role when needed. On the morning of March 15, 2011 West Sebring was dispatched to the scene of a possible drowning in the same neighborhood Scott lives in, without a second thought Scott responded quickly arriving on scene in less than two minutes of the original 911 call. Scott rushed in to what was described as a lifeless 18 month old toddler. Scott began CPR and from the EMS reports was noted that Scott’s quick response and early CPR gave the toddler a chance to survive. Scott was quoted after the incident as saying “this is a tough one; I have a five year old at home. This one hits home, I can’t stop thinking about it.”

Looking at Scott’s performance as a Fire Chief and the legacy he is building as a Fire Chief many would note tons of different-accomplishments-that define the Chief and man that he is, but for a family, and an 18 month old March 15, 2011 will always define the person Scott is.