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HIGHLANDS: Ruben Lopez Firefighter of the Year

Ruben Lopez, Jr. second from left, receives his Firefighter of the Year Award. Pictured from left, Assistant Chief Mike Carsner, Lopez, Fire Chief Harvey Little, and ESD #14 board president Jim Strouhal.

HIGHLANDS– Recognition and thanks for service was the theme for the annual Highlands Volunteer Fire Department awards banquet, held last Saturday evening at Monument Inn.

ESD#14 president Jim Strouhal presented the Firefighter of the Year award to Ruben Lopez, Jr.

This award is given in memory of Cecil Kelly, who volunteered with the Highlands VFD for over 42 years before retiring in 1996. The recipient chosen by vote of the membership is a firefighter who performed above and beyond the call of duty.

A large crowd of firemen and families, friends, community supporters, and board members attended the dinner. Fire Chief Harvey Little emceed the ceremony, introducing awards, guests, and honorees.

Chief Little reviewed the history of the department for 2018. He noted that there were a total of 2771 calls for service, compared with last year’s 2827. Of these 2018 were EMS calls compared with 1965 the previous year. Life Flight was called 20 times, compared with 22 last year. There were 720 calls for fire responses, compared with 864 in 2016. The department responded to 157 Motor Vehicle Accidents in 2017, compared to 151 the previous year.

Chief Little reported on accomplishments in the training of members. The department received a grant from the Texas Forestry Service to purchase a forcible entry training door, simulated smoke machine for search and rescue training. Using HVFD equipment, the department held training sessions at the Houston Fire Department facility.

Please see print edition for additional awards and photographs.