By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – On July 22, Shrewsbury Fire Chief Jim Vuona presided over the fourth annual Firefighters Awards and Recognitions Night at the department’s headquarters. Dignitaries, department personnel and families were snug inside the apparatus bay where the ceremony took place.
“We do this every year to honor and recognize the promotions, appointments and accomplishments of the members of the Shrewsbury Fire Department,” Vuona stated.
Deputy Chief Bruce Card Jr. was presented with the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award and
Firefighter Michael Borowiec received the 2018 Outstanding Firefighter Award.
State Senator Michael Moore (D-Millbury) and State Representative Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury) presented citations to the recipients. Shrewsbury selectmen Jim Kane, John Lebeaux and Beth Casavant were also in attendance.
The first recognitions were presented to members of the Call/Volunteer Class Owen Bouffard, Steven Ebers, Michael Filiere, Connor Jordan and Alex Milosz.
“They are our newest firefighters, they recently graduated from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy in Stow, Mass. and they are hoping to become full-time Shrewsbury firefighters down the line,” Vuona reported.
Firefighter David Hodgerney was then honored with the 2018 Firefighter Achievement Award. He plans on retiring Sept. 15 after 32 years of service to the community.
“Dave has been a firefighter with us for over 30 years…Dave has been recognized by the state for his efforts as an outstanding public educator. He was actually the first certified firefighter public educator that we’ve had in the town and he started the program for us,” Vuona shared.
In his acceptance remarks, Hodgerny noted that in addition to teaching fire safety to school children it was important to him to teach the same lessons to the elderly.
Former Fire Chief and Selectman Bruce Card Sr., 91, was present to watch his son presented with the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award. He is set to retire in the coming weeks.
“In the three years he has developed, planned, plotted, organized, enforced, inspected and basically reinvented how we do fire prevention here…He is our ‘go to guy’ on all things fire prevention,” Vuona said.
The 2018 Outstanding Firefighter Award was then presented to Borowiec.
“This year Mike got us two successful grants – one from the federal government for over $37,000 to purchase [commercial grade] washers (extractors) and dryers for all our stations.” Vuona said. “He worked with MEMA to secure a HazMat grant for training and equipment for the department.”
Other recognitions included the swearing in of Captain Seth Colby to deputy chief, Firefighter Shaun Weigold to the rank of fire captain and Firefighter Chris White to full-time status.