By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
According to highly-placed sources in the Keizer Fire District, Lt. Bill Herring, Jr., can cook up one of the best prime ribs you’ll ever eat. But Herring’s culinary skills weren’t the reason for his selection as KFD Volunteer of the Year at a banquet last month.
“He leads by example, serves unwaveringly, and truly loves his work. He has the highest integrity and is respected and loved by all he serves with,” said Chief Jeff Cowan, of KFD, who also applauded Herring’s culinary skills.
It’s the second time in his 17-year history with the fire district that Herring was honored with the award. Herring started out with KFD’s Explorer Troop while a freshman at McNary High School and it was enough of a taste to make him want more.
“There’s so much to it between helping your community and helping people in a time of need. It’s also like playing with a bunch of big toys,” Herring said, referencing KFD’s fleet of emergency service vehicles.
After graduating from the McNary in 2001, Herring joined the district as a regular volunteer less than five months later and began working toward becoming a career firefighter and paramedic.
When opportunities in the City of Salem utility billing department emerged as another option, Herring opted to pursue those, but finished his EMT basic training which allows him to serve as a lieutenant.
He doesn’t have one particular call that stands out in his mind, but said it’s still breathtaking to watch how years of training translate into action at the scene of a call.
“Every call is an important one even if it’s just helping someone get up off the floor. It’s a great experience even if you’re just an extra body helping out. You get to see the great side of Keizer,” Herring said.
The camaraderie and bonds he’s formed on the job now inform his approaches to other aspects of his life.
“It’s easier to work with other people. You have to work together to get things done even when we don’t agree. There’s a lot of lessons around reliability being part of the fire district. If I’m not doing my part someone else has to pick up my slack,” Herring said.
Herring, 31, lives in Keizer with his wife, Lindsay, and children, Jaxsen and Madeline.
Other honorees at KFD’s annual banquet were:
• Brian Butler as Employee of the Year.
• Butch Halvorson as EMT of the Year.
• Lt. Dale Slater was named Top Responder for responding to 279 alarms, and pulling 97 Duty Shifts in 2013.
• Volunteer Jason Perkins was named Rookie of the Year.
• Firefighter/paramedics Rachel Brozovich, Christina Wilson and Kelby Frazer were awarded Life Saving Awards for resuscitating a cardiac arrest patient whose heart stopped in transit to the hospital.
• Length of service awards were presented to Slater (15 years), Lt. Tony Ling (15), Kurt Shelton (10), Cowan (five years), John Crow (five) and Anne-Marie Storms (five).
• Eleven new KFD volunteers, Ivan Fonzeca, Taylor Gettle, Jared Jenkins, Justin Kilburn, Kerbi McCormick, Chantal Monsrud, Jacob Neilson, Jason Perkins, Elisabeth Reira, Nolan Smith and Eduardo Tapia took their oaths and received their KFD badges.