The South Walton Fire District held its annual awards ceremony on Feb.16. In attendance were employees, family members, friends and SWFD Board of Fire Commissioners. The ceremony provided an opportunity for SWFD team members to celebrate and acknowledge individual and group achievements from the previous year.

The event was celebrated at the newly opened Padgett Park facility. The park was named in honor of Sgt. Army Ranger Medic and former SWFD Firefighter/Paramedic Timothy P. Padgett. He was killed in action on May 8, 2007 in Afghanistan when he suffered fatal wounds after his unit was attacked by enemy forces during combat patrol.  Padgett was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, at Fort Bragg.

 “I couldn’t think of a more fitting place than Padgett Park to host the SWFD awards ceremony”, said Dave Swift, SWFD awards committee chairman.

Presiding over the awards ceremony, Fire Chief Rick Talbert shared the District’s views on recognizing our members. “It is important that we recognize our members each time they go above and beyond their job duties in order to achieve a successful outcome for our citizens and visitors” “Whether it’s by accomplishing personal or professional goals, these actions reflect positively on them and on our District”. Recognizing our members is always a priority”.

Members who were recognized for their outstanding accomplishments in 2012 were:

Firefighter of the Year - Lt. Carl Hohenstein

Fire Chief’s Award - Sgt. Henry Apfelbach

Education Achievement Ribbon - Firefighter/EMT Alan Sainz

Communications Operator of the Year - Communications Operator Jonathan Thomas

Communications Superstar - Communications Operator Dave Swift


Certificate of Exceptional Performance:

Firefighter/Paramedic Steve Smith

Communications Operator Dave Swift

Lifeguard Danielle Murzynsky

Lifeguard Brad Stewart

Lifeguard Justin Cook


Robert Heighton Life Saving Award:

District Chief - Herb Patterson

Lt/Paramedic - Daniel LaTour

Firefighter/Paramedic - Dean Samson

Firefighter/Paramedic - Andrew Cotton

Firefighter/Paramedic - Mathew Hayes

Firefighter/Paramedic - Jerry Moss

Firefighter/Paramedic - Luke Lewis

Firefighter/EMT - Kenneth Reynolds


Veteran Firefighter Service Ribbon:

Lt/ Paramedic - Daniel LaTour

Sgt/EMT - James Odom

Firefighter/ Paramedic - Jerry Moss

Firefighter/EMT- Kenneth Reynolds


Unit Commendation: (Station 3 C Shift)

District Chief- Mike Thomas

Lt. Carl Hohenstein

Sgt./Paramedic Chris Kidder

Firefighter/Paramedic Leanne Thompson

Firefighter/EMT Kenneth Reynolds

Firefighter/EMT Thomas Shembri


Lifeguard of the Year – Brad Thomas

Rookie Lifeguard of the Year – Daryl Paul

Lifeguard Competitor of the Year – Justin Cook