JFRD Fire Fighters of the Year

The following Jacksonville Firefighters have been the recipients of the Lieutenant Joseph F. Stichway Firefighter of the Year Award. Where possible, a brief description of the heroic act is provided.


1967- Bobby Claxton

Claxton, assigned to Ladder 4, rescued a 5 year old boy from a burning home.

1969- Mose Bowden

Bowden was recognized for his actions during Jacksonville's race riots of 1969.

1971- Arnold Haddock

1972- Edgar "Eddie" Cowart

In the middle of the night, Cowart jumped fully clothed from a fire boat into the St. Johns River to save a man who was drowning.

1973- Kenneth Ivey

Ivey's rescue unit was involved in a head-on collision with a passenger car. Though injured, he managed to pull the victims from the burning car, and administered medical assistance to them.

1974- Lindy Jackson


1975- E.E. Wood


1976- Robert "Randy" White

White saved a 2-year old from drowning.


1977- Ronald F. Gore

Gore was recognized for his efforts in forming the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department Hazardous Materials Team, the first of its kind in the nation.


1978- Harry "Gil" Mixson

Mixson helped rescue a stranded boater who suffered a heart attack while being stuck on a sand bar. Despite large waves and a severe undertow, Mixson swam out to the sand bar and hooked a rope to the boat, which was pulled from the sand bar by a jeep.

1979- Andrew Graham

In December of 1979, Graham leaped into the freezing Trout River and performed CPR on a two year old who was trapped in a van that had been submerged.

1980- Howard Davidson

Davidson rescued a mother from a house fire and then went back inside and rescued her two kids.

1981- Sam Pratt


1982- Richard Darby

Darby went through a vapor cloud unprotected to shut a valve and stop a propane leak in a 1,000 gallon propane tank at the Anchor Hocking plant.

1983- Parender Farmer

Farmer broke through the back window of a mobile home and pulled a boy out of a fire.

1984- Brett T. Pickett


1985- Richard P. Morphew

Morphew is credited with keeping a 1,200lb propane tank from exploding.

1986- Edgar "Eddie" Cowart

Cowart, the Firefighter of the Year from 1972, drowned after Marine 3 capsized while responding to a distress call on the St. Johns River.

1987- Wayne Doolittle

1988- Mark S. Chambers

1989- Ronald Fridell

Sauls died of a heart attack shortly after leaving the station.

1990- Clarence Dieas

Dieas disarmed a violent patient who was carrying a knife. The patient was threatening to kill herself and anyone who came near her.

1991- Reginald Thompson Jr.

1992- Robert O. Tarkington

On June 3rd, Engine 18 encountered a man with a rifle who was threatening to blow the brains out of anyone came near him. Tarkington was able to persuade the man into dropping the rifle. He then positioned himself between the man and the rifle to keep everyone safe.

1993- All Members of the JFRD

In 1993, the entire Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department was recognized after their spectacular job extinguishing the Steuart Petroleum Oil Tank Fire January 2nd-8th of 1993. A car struck the tank, igniting the contents. The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department became the first department ever to extinguish this type of oil tank.

1994- Steven D. Lee


1995- Andrew Graham and Mike Strickland

Graham, also the Firefighter of the Year for 1979, and Strickland pulled two children from a burning home on Kings Rd. Upon hearing a scream, Graham and Strickland moved to the area of the scream and removed one child from the burning house. They then re-entered the house and removed a second child, who was not breathing.

1996- Richard Lundy

Lundy, assigned to Ladder 4, used a ground ladder to make entry into the second story of a house at 759 Church Street. Lundy went into the second floor without a hose line and conducted a search of a bedroom on fire. He located a man who was near death and removed him from the superheated room. The victim was removed from the house and lived.

1997- No Award Given


1998- Timothy Culpepper and Bruce Hedrick

Culpepper and Hedrick, both of Ladder 4, responded to a two story vacant house at 725 Clay Street. They forced entry into the structure and performed a primary search of the first floor, where they found an unconscious victim in a back bedroom. Culpepper and Hedrick removed the victim from the house. The victim was taken to the hospital and survived.

1999- Mike Lesniak

2000- Robert O. Tarkington

On September 16th, Tarkington, the Firefighter of the Year from 1992, responded on Ladder 18 to a man who was trapped in a hole between stacks of metal stock. Tarkington was able to get near the patient and place airbags around him to help lift the metal. He then crawled under the trapped victim, placed a rescue harness on him, and assisted with pushing the victim out of the hole.

2001- 343 Emergency Personnel Who Died on September 11th

The JFRD chose to honor their brother fire fighters who died at the scene of the terror attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City.

2002- Robin Gainey

Gainey, a Lieutenant at Engine 5 in Riverside, jumped into the water to save an entire family that was drowning.

2003- David J. Smith

Smith was honored for his actions at a house fire, where he rescued a trapped victim.

2004- Laurence Washington

Washington sustained several injuries when he dove into the water to rescue the driver of a van that had run off the road and was submerged.

2005- Mark Johnson and Andrew Sallette

Lt. Johnson and Firefighter Sallette, both assigned to Engine 7, were at the Motor Pool getting repairs made to Haz Mat 7 when the jack holding the apparatus up gave way, trapping a Motor Pool worker underneath the Haz Mat. Sallette and Johnson quickly called for an extrication assignment and repositioned the jack to raise the Haz Mat. Johnson then slid under the apparatus and pulled the victim out to safety. Just seconds after removing the victim from under the Haz Mat, the floor jack gave way a second time.

2006- Clinton Milstead

Milstead, off duty from his shift at Engine 12, dove in to the St. Johns River to save a toddler who had fallen in and could not swim. Milstead pulled the victim out and left the scene in anonymity. It wasn't until days later that he was finally identified as the rescuer.

2007- Michael "Chip" George

While detailed to Ladder 1 for the day, George responded to a house fire at 6th and Pearl Streets. Upon entering the structure, the fire room flashed, trapping another fire fighter. George was there to rescue the trapped fire fighter and drag him out of the house.

2008- David Doucette


History of the JFRD

Additional Fire-Rescue History

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