KFD units cited for heroism in annual awards

Lt. Andrew Alderson, firefighter Simeon Wakefield, engineer Jason Perkins, Division Chief Ryan Russell, engineer Mike Jensen, firefighter Andrew Etzel, Capt. Christina Wilson were among the Keizer Fire District employees recognized for heroic efforts in an annual awards ceremony. Not Pictured: engineer Bill Herring.

On Aug. 3, 2020, a grandfather taking his grandkids waterskiing on the Willamette River, collapsed in the boat.

In response to a call for help, firefighters Bill Herring and Simeon Wakefield waded out into the water where the boat had beached itself about 20 feet from the shore. Herring began manual CPR while Wakefield placed the patient on a ventilator.

Capt. Christina Wilson and firefighter Andrew Etzel worked their way into the water and assisted with care while steadying the boat. While still treating the patient in the water, the crew helped the man regain a pulse and made their way to shore where Chief Ryan Russell, Lt. Andrew Alderson and engineers Mike Jensen and Jason Perkins provided additional assistance. The patient made a full recovery a few days later.

The entire unit was one of three cited when the Keizer Fire District celebrated its employees earlier this year.

Two other units, consisting of engineers Sean Cummings and CJ Thorne and Capt. Aaron Pittis and Herring, were cited for tireless efforts battling the destructive and disruptive wildfires along the Cascade Mountains last year.

Cummings and Thorne assisted on the scene of the Beachie Creek Fire with one stint lasting from early evening until the next morning.

Pittis and Herring battled the blaze near Eagle Creek for 31 consecutive hours as part of a seven-day deployment.

KFD administrators also handed out awards for excellent individual performance.

Herring was named Employee of the Year, Cummings earned Firefighter of the Year honors, Amber Ashlock was the 2020 EMT of the year, Layne Gillette was named Rookie of the Year and Jack Evans was Volunteer of the Year.