The SFMD family has selected the 2019 Firefighters and Employees of the year.

Each year the membership are asked to nominate their peers for the Firefighter of the Year and Transportation Services (Ambulance) Employee of the Year. This year, the SFMD also added a nomination for Civilian Staff Employee of the Year.

For the first time ever, two firefighters were selected to be Firefighters of the Year. The honor has traditionally been awarded to a single firefighter, but this year, the SFMD has broken that tradition. An even more interesting result is that the two chosen Firefighters happen to be identical twin brothers!

Selecting a single person as the Civilian Staff Employee of the Year was also a significant challenge for the SFMD leadership, as two very dedicated and very hard working individuals were nominated. Finding it too difficult to choose, the SFMD again chose two persons for the distinct award. Each nomination has been summarized below:

Firefighters of the Year Rob VandeKrol and Randy VandeKrol:

Rob VandeKrol

Rob VandeKrol

Both Randy and Robert VandeKrol have contributed collectively and individually through their many talents, and their dedication to the organization.

Randy VandeKrol

Randy VandeKrol

Rob joined the district in 2002, promoted to Engineer (Driver-Pump Operator) in 2008. Randy, a Firefighter/Paramedic joined the district in 2005. Both Rob and Randy are long standing members of the district’s elite Technical Rescue Team.

Both men continuously go above and beyond the call of service to support their crew members and the citizens of the district. Both serve as SCBA Technicians and lead the team in the maintenance, repairs and testing of all air packs. They also conduct our annual fit testing (seal check) of SCBA and N95 masks.

They conduct regular testing and maintenance of all of the district’s MSA gas monitors. They are known valley wide as instructors for Technical Rescue Team, and are specifically requested every year by the training consortium to instruct Building Collapse and Shoring Classes. Many of the props at our training center were built by Rob and Randy.

Transportation Services Employee of the Year EMT Sarah Koupal:

Sarah Koupal

Sarah Koupal

Sarah Koupal has been chosen as the Transportation Service Employee of the Year because of her outstanding attitude towards her job. Ms. Koupal is a very reliable employee, and her performances are outstanding in most every aspect of her job. Her duties, responsibilities and service to the community are paramount. Ms. Koupal’s interactions with the public and with her co-workers are professional and caring at all times.

Administrative Services Employees of the Year:

Lori Hlavin

Lori Hlavin

Lori Hlavin, Account Clerk Payroll, always demonstrates a professional and caring demeanor to every single person, employee, staff member, co-worker, community member and Board Member she comes in contact with. Everything she does, she does with a smile and a pleasant attitude. Lori’s work speaks for itself. I have seen her work weekends, holidays, nights, days off and even during her time of personal loss, she remains dedicated to SFMD and making sure everyone is paid accurately and on time. Lori has demonstrated her commitment to her job and to the employees of SFMD over and over, time and time again.

Sherry Mueller

Sherry Mueller

Sherry Mueller, Human Resources Generalist, has a friendly and approachable demeanor, with a superior ability to empathize with issues an employee may bring to her attention. Sherry has accepted additional responsibilities and has acquired the knowledge necessary to effectively handle each task.

Sherry makes a point of greeting each Admin office employee by their name every morning, with a smile and enthusiastic “good morning.” Why is this so important? Using an employee’s name humanizes the employee and makes them feel connected and valued, rather than just a “cog in the wheel.” Most of us have stressful responsibilities, both inside and outside of SFMD, and Sherry’s friendly greeting really helps to start the day feeling noticed and appreciated.

Sherry’s approachable and non-judgmental demeanor helps ensure that an employee feels comfortable bringing a concern or question to her attention. Sherry makes sure the employee knows that SFMD cares about their well-being and is available to provide confidential resources to assist them within the scope of Human Resources. The warmth of her kind and understanding words really elevate each human resource experience above “just filling out the necessary forms.”

Sherry’s responsibilities have expanded from recruitment and benefit administration to handling several board meeting agendas and minutes (SFMD monthly Board of Director’s meeting, Ad Hoc committee, pension board, etc.). Sherry has accepted these responsibilities without complaint and has learned the system processes and legal posting deadlines that apply to each of the meetings.

Sherry’s professional attitude and ability to interact with the SFMD attorney and Board Members make her the perfect Admin employee to handle these important meetings.

In closing, each of the Administrative Services employees do a good job in their area of responsibility. There are great things about each of us. What sets Sherry apart from the rest of the Administrative Services employees is her HUMANIZING attitude and approach.

Please join the Superstition Fire & Medical District in congratulating each of these men and women for the outstanding contributions they have made to the organization!

For more information about SFMD’s Firefighter of the Year and Employees of the Year, please visit our web site at www.sfmd.az.gov or contact us at 480-982-4440.

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