Ryan Hotchkiss receives the Firefighter of the Year award from Jim Strouhal of ESD#14.
Ryan Hotchkiss receives the Firefighter of the Year award from Jim Strouhal of ESD#14.


HIGHLANDS– The fire department held their annual Recognition and Awards Banquet last Saturday evening, at the Monument Inn. A crowd of about 85 attended, with safe practices observed due to the COVID pandemic. Fire Chief Harvey Little served as the emcee for the evening’s events.

ESD#14 president Jim Strouhal presented the Firefighter of the Year award to Ryan Hotchkiss.

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 introduced awards, guests, and honorees.

Chief Little reviewed the history of the department for 2021. In almost every category, the department answered more calls than in the previous year 2020. Chief Little noted that there were a total of 3154 calls for service, compared with last year’s 2670. Of these 2388 were EMS calls compared with 1976 the previous year. Life Flight was called 38 times, compared with 24 last year. There were 857 calls for fire responses, compared with 694 in 2020, a significant increase. The department responded to 181 Motor Vehicle Accidents in 2021, compared to 161 the previous year.

Chief Little reported on accomplishments in the last year. The department started a daytime Paid Fire Crew seven days a week, in August 2021. The department also purchased a 16 ft. Inflatable Rescue One boat with a 40hp Mercury motor, for use in high water rescues in neighborhoods.

In fiscal matters, the department paid off Tanker 27 one year early, and Station 27 five years early thanks to ESD#14.

Using HVFD equipment, the department held training sessions at the Baytown, Sheldon and Deer Park facilities.

The EMS department replaced their oldest ambulance with a new Chevy C4500 Chassis with a new Frazer box.

Membership in the HVFD stands at 67, and increase from previous years. Of these 28 are regular, 3 apprentices, 1 junior firefighter, 17 retirees (not in the total), 6 EMS full time paid, and 15 EMS part-time paid, and 14 Fire part time paid members.

Station #27 now is staffed with a night duty fire crew, and ESD#14 monthly meetings are held at the new building.

Top Ten Responders for 2021 were:

Christofer Contreres 360

Tanner Scarbrought 339

Pablo Camargo 243

Thomas Coward 213

Ruben Lopez 182

Patrick Brown 178

Matthew Bennett 131

Chad Lowery 131

Ryan Hotchkiss 130

Wayne Speaks 121

Service Awards:

1 YR-Thomas Herrer

Crystal Guerra

Austin Forkin

5 YR-Josh Losier

Jose Chen

Matthew Bennett

Jennifer Meekins

Scott Dickens

Theresa Young

10 YR-Wayne Speaks

Nathaniel Scott

Tim Covington

30 YR-Tommy McMorrow

35 YR-Jeanette Thompson


2021 Addisyn Speaks

2022 Bella Comeaux

Board of Directors:

Ben Coward, chair

Tim Covington, v.chair

Ryan Lopez, sec

Members: Chris Contreras, Wayne Speaks, Glenn Chisholm, Chad Lowery

Special Awards by the Chief:

Appreciation Award, Christy Graves, ESD#5

Treasurer, Debbie Nibbe

Chaplain, Wesley Freeman

Chief’s Award, Jeanette Thompson

Citizen of the Year, Terri Hotchkiss

Business of the Year, Blue Beacon Truck Wash

Junior Firefighter, Landon Lewis

Rookie of the Year, Pablo Camargo

Firefighter of the Year, Ryan Hotchkiss.