Yakima Fire Department officials recognized some of the best in the department when the department presented its 2019 annual awards over the past few weeks during a series of Zoom videos.
Recipients were nominated by their peers in early 2020.
The award ceremony was originally scheduled for earlier this spring then re-scheduled and later canceled due to COVID-19.

A news release from the department says the awards included;

"Rusty Hauber Outstanding Achievement Award – John Shahan

“He is thought of as being one of the most skilled firefighters the Yakima Fire Department has had the honor of employing,” the nomination for Shahan stated. “He takes his job extremely seriously and ensures that he is a complete expert on any subject deemed necessary for him to know. When on the scene of complicated incidents, it is always this person the younger firefighters look to for confirmation if they are doing the right things. When in the station or while training, it is this person who sets the tone for the quality of work that is expected and people follow.”

Shahan was praised for his response to two calls in the summer of 2019. One involved extricating a person from a vehicle and the other comforting a patient who was pinned by a vehicle that drove through her house.

    Lifetime Achievement Award – Shift Commander Jennifer Norton

“This individual has successfully advanced their way through the ranks of the department to where they are at today,” the nomination for Norton stated. “Their command presence on emergency scenes allows crews to focus at the task level of objectives knowing they are in good hands. This person is very calm and collected while on emergency scenes which resonates over the entire scene. They are described as being willing to listen and have a productive conversation with crew members, an amazing representative with the highest professionalism of the Yakima Fire Department.”

    Outstanding Fire Officer of the Year Award – Lt. Joe Burbank

“He is passionate about his career and the department,” the nomination for Burbank stated. “He is excellent in carrying out the duties both on the fire ground and the training grounds. He works extremely hard every academy, going above and beyond to make sure the recruits that graduate are trained to the highest standards. He studies his craft constantly, learning new techniques that have been adopted throughout the fire service. He takes great pride in his career and his department. He is a great role model for all firefighters and fire officers. “

    Lifetime Achievement Award – Firefighter Chris Casey

Casey’s nomination described him as “…the ideal of what a firefighter should be.” The nomination statement added, “He has exceptional skills, multiple boat rescues under his belt, is level headed, dependable, soft spoken, and has a calm demeanor.” Casey, who has been with YFD for 28 years, was also praised for his problem-solving skills. “I can’t think of anyone who is better suited for this than Chris Casey,” the nomination stated. “This man comes to work, knows his job and does it with a level of professionalism that we should all strive for.”

The award ceremonies can be viewed at YFD 2019 Awards – YouTube

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