On Saturday, December 28, 2019, the Gravette Fire Department had their annual Christmas dinner and awards ceremony at Station 1 in Gravette. Food was provided by the Gravette Fire Department Women’s Auxiliary and ribs and pulled pork were provided by BMS Auto of Gravette. Several retired fire fighters were invited and attended the event. “This event gives us an opportunity to review our accomplishments during the year and show appreciation for all the hard work and training completed by the firefighters,” said Gravette Fire Chief David Orr.
Lieutenant Josh Blocker received an award for responding to the most calls in 2019. Lt. Blocker responded to 239 calls to service, followed next by Captain David Winter who responded to 217 calls to service. Captain Jared Weston presented Lt. Blocker his award and noted, “Lieutenant Blocker’s response during the year was above and beyond the expectations we have for volunteer response.”
Firefighter Dee Walker was presented with an award for logging the most training hours in 2019. FF Walker completed 169.3 hours of training, followed next by Firefighter Ryan Sutherland who completed 151 hours of training. He was presented the award by Lieutenant Brad Harris, who stated “Firefighter Walker has worked hard this year to better himself to serve the community.” The Gravette Fire Department worked diligently all year to increase training hours for all fire personnel. In 2019, the department as a whole has completed 4,111 hours of training.
The top five volunteers who responded to the most calls for the department received in 2019 were Lieutenant Josh Blocker, Captain David Winter, Firefighter Ryan Sutherland, Lieutenant Bob Bohannon, and Firefighter Dee Walker. As a symbol of appreciation, they all received medical first responder bags stocked with equipment needed for medical calls. These bags were purchased thanks to a trauma grant from the Arkansas Department of Health. All department members are dually trained to respond to both fires and medical emergencies and all fire department personnel are currently certified at a minimum as an Emergency Medical Responder.
The Gravette Fire Department has a fire district that covers 53 square miles of both city and county response area and is staffed by career and volunteer firefighters. In 2018, the department responded to more than 1,000 fire and medical calls. Anyone interested in serving the community as a volunteer firefighter for the Gravette Fire Department is encouraged to contact the fire station at 479-787-6600 for more information.