Press Releases

Posted on: March 8, 2018

Firefighters, Staff, and Civilians Honored by Fire Department

The San Marcos Fire Department honored outstanding firefighters, city staff and citizens at the annual awards ceremony held on Thursday, March 1 at the San Marcos Activity Center.

Fire Chief Les Stephens presided at the special event. Top awards went to:

  • Engineer Scott Grunwald was designated as Firefighter of the Year, and Captain Michael Orichuela as Officer of the Year. They were chosen by their peers for excellence in performance, leadership, work volume and quality, and assistance with special programs and training.
  • Medal of Merit: Captains Brian Quackenbush and Tory Turner, Engineer Kevin Holmes and Firefighter Aaron Crick saved a person’s life during a successful rescue.  
  • Phoenix Life Saving Award: This medal was awarded to Captain Jonathan Henderson, Firefighters Wesley Keathley and Lucas Sergent for saving a person’s life when no pulse or breathing were evident.
  • Haynes Award: H-E-B and Fire Department Administrative Coordinator Jana Green were honored for their long-standing affiliation with the San Marcos Fire Department. The award is given for their advancement of the department, the welfare of the firefighters and the fire service, and service to the citizens of San Marcos.


Larry Howard, Brian Quackenbush, and Aaron Stewart were promoted to Captain.

Three firefighters, Thomas Courchesne, Matthew Felton, and Pablo Nieto, took their Oath of Service to the department and were each pinned with a firefighter badge by their families.

Unit Citations were awarded to those that worked together as a team to rescue and escort multiple flood victims to safety during the April 11, 2017 flood, as well as to members who provided Honor Guard services for fallen SMPD Officer Kenneth Copeland.

Perfect Attendance Awards were earned by those who did not use any sick leave for the year. They were: Battalion Chiefs Jim Matano and Howie Minor, Captain Garrett Jordan, and Firefighters Daniel Martinez and Pablo Nieto. Second year in a row for perfect attendance went to: David Fernandez. Third year in a row: Firefighter Wesley Keathley. Fourth year in a row: Engineer Blake Schanhals and Firefighter Tanner McLean.

Service Awards were presented to: Fifteen Years: Engineer Kevin Holmes; Ten Years: Captains Larry Howard, Gregory Sherrill, Engineers Brad Mason and Bill Young, and Firefighter Russell Brown; 5 Years: Engineer Bobby Nance and Firefighters Ross Garman, Daniel Martinez, Billy Mullins, and Administrative Assistant Sr. Melinda Villarreal.

Certificates of Appreciation and Merit went to numerous citizens, City Staff and firefighters recognizing their importance to the organization.

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