The 2013 Firefighter’s Ball and Awards Banquet


This 13th annual event was held Feb. 9 at the Caribbean Cove Hotel with 300 people in attendance. After dinner as the Awards Program began, Deputy Chief Brian Miller recognized those who had served the Zionsville Fire Department.  Retiree badges were presented to six personnel: (Howard Bedell, Leonard Grizzle, Roy King, Don Miller, Floyd Shultz, and Noel Kendall)

Fire Chief James VanGorder re-capped major accomplishments of the department which are contained within the annual report at the following link:

Chief VanGorder thanked the nineteen members of Support Services for their efforts in putting together the 13th annual event, and all their hard work during the past year.

Chief VanGorder presented The 2012 Business Partner of the Year Award to The Boone County Sheriff’s Department for their dedication to the community and for their outstanding efforts supporting public safety and constant commitment in helping the Zionsville Fire Department meet our mission.  Picture: 0103- Boone County Chief Deputy Major Mike Nielsen accepts award on behalf of the Boone County Sheriff.

Each Firefighter was called up and presented with a certificate for their years of service.  Chief VanGorder stated “Each Year we try and do something special for those firefighters with more than 20 years of service in increments of five years, this year we present the 25 year service award to Scott Plummer”.

Firefighter/Paramedic Nick Kirk was presented a Zionsville Fire Department Flag by the Department.  Nick is being deployed with the Naval Expeditionary Medical Unit for at least the next 12 months.

Receiving their Lieutenant Badges and Bars at the program were Lt. Steve Hayes, Lt. Scott Peters, and Lt Ryan Sparks.  As they recently received merit promotions to the rank of Lieutenant.

Civilian Citation: Chief VanGorder, “On the Afternoon of November 19, Scott Grieser was at home working on his car.  His car was up on jack stands and he was partially under the vehicle working on his brakes, when one of the jack stands gave way and the car came down on him pinning his lower leg.  Mr. Grieser’s 7 year old daughter Allison heard the noise of the car falling off the jack, as well as her father calling for help.  She quickly came to the aid of her father and began to place the jack under the vehicle.  Moments later, after hearing the call for help, a neighbor, Diane Detorrice also came to assist and the two were able to raise the jack and free Mr. Grieser from the vehicle.  Mr. Grieser was then transported and treated for his injuries.  Diane Detorrice and Allison Grieser, for your meritorious action which resulted in the saving of a life and reduction of serious injury, The Zionsville Fire Department honors you with this Civilian Citation”.

Civilian Life Saving Award: Chief Vangorder, “On May 25th, at 1349 hours, M91 and E91 were dispatched for an unconscious person.  Four minutes after dispatch, units arrived on scene. Crew members learned that this was a witnessed cardiac arrest and found the man down in his yard pulseless and not breathing with a bystander performing CPR.  Zionsville Fire crew members quickly assessed the scene and assumed care of the patient. The patient was confirmed to be in a lethal heart rhythm and lifesaving interventions were initiated.  Twelve minutes into the call, after two shocks, the patient’s heart converted from the lethal rhythm to normal rhythm.  Although he remained unconscious, his pulse returned and the patient began to breathe on his own.  The patient was transported to St. Vincent Hospital where care was continued.  Mr. Conway received a heart catheterization and it was determined that the cause of his Cardiac Arrest was a blockage in his left main coronary artery.  Early CPR is lifesaving. Kelly Sandefur for your actions on that day and being principally involved in a lifesaving act we would like to honor you with the silver lifesaving medal”.

FF Commendation:  For performing a credible act in the line of duty which is commendable in nature, and displays admirable initiative and accomplishment, it is with great honor that I present this FF Commendation to FF/EMT J.J. Anderson.

Rookie of the Year: Chief VanGorder, “This years’ recipient although being a firefighter for a few years is just completing his first full year as a fulltime firefighter with Zionsville—his dedication to fitness and exercise exploded during this year, his drive to learn and better himself, accompanied by his passion to encourage and assist others to better themselves makes him a standout with ZFD.  His co-workers rave about his commitment to personal fitness and his ability to promote teamwork.  This year’s recipient also happens to be a very good paramedic and strives to educate himself as well as help educate his crew members.  Due to his values, attributes, and for his commitment to the department, it is my pleasure to present the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award to Joshua Sayman”.

Emergency Medical Technician of the Year: Chief VanGorder, “This year’s recipient is a person who shows a dedication to patient care that exceeds expectations. He embraces the role as an EMT and engages himself in a pattern of behavior that can only be described as excellence.  He brings energy to work every day.   He sets a great example for all member of the department.  He enjoys the opportunity to serve in the community. He shows a great interest and compassion in working with the youth of our community. Paramedics enjoy an elevated level of ability working with him.  With only 3 years on the department, we are looking forward to many more years of service from him. It is with great pride that I present the 2012 EMT of the Year Award to Benjamin Johnson”.

Paramedic of the Year: Chief VanGorder, “This year’s recipient has been with ZFD for 6 years.  Although he has only been a Paramedic for a few years, he has faced many challenging situations and has excelled each time.  He has demonstrated his abilities extremely well and has captured the attention of staff on each of the three shifts.  He takes the time to educate our younger and less experienced staff.  His level of compassion has been called second to none.  The Physicians in the Emergency Department know him well because he takes the time to ask their advice after a complicated run.  For his abilities, professionalism, and dedication I proudly present the 2012 Paramedic of the Year Award to Dan Stevens”.

Firefighter of the Year:  Chief VanGorder, “This year’s recipient is a committed and experienced firefighter.  He has been a valuable asset to the Zionsville Fire Department for 6 years.  His commitment was noted early this past year when he committed himself to the physical training of our 2012 recruit class.  He gave of his own time for a six week period to lead these recruits in this training.  It was obvious how much he was appreciated by the recruit class when they honored him at the reception of their swearing in ceremony with an award.  His leadership remains apparent as all of these recruits have maintained their fitness routines.  It’s this kind of commitment that keeps the Zionsville Fire Department one of the best departments to work for and keeps us providing the best quality of service to our community. It is with great pride that I present the 2012 Firefighter of the Year Award to FF/Paramedic Dan Stevens.

Fire Chief VanGorder ended the evening by saying:  “In conclusion, I would like to thank the Fire Department Awards Committee:  Chairperson Lt. Steve Hayes, Donnie Starwalt, Ryan Sparks, Dan Stevens, Scott Peters and Andy Henthorn.  I would also like to thank all of our corporate and individual sponsors for making tonight possible; Gold Sponsor St. Vincent Health, our Silver Sponsor Zionsville Meadows, our Bronze Sponsors – Beam Longest & Neff, SD Advertising, Zionsville Times Sentinel and Le Dolce Vita.

Thank you for supporting us and we look forward to seeing you at next year’s event on February 8th 2014!!!!

For Questions regarding this press release please contact James VanGorder 317-873-5358 or via email at


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