Submitted by Public Risk Underwriters of Florida, Inc. - Safety & Risk Management Department
Career Firefighter of the Year & Fire Service Instructor of the Year: Ryan Gallik, Firefighter/Paramedic - City of St. Cloud Fire
In addition to his daily duties, Ryan has dedicated his free time to equipping fellow and aspiring firefighters with the knowledge and resources they need to understand how to be the most effective first responder. From 2008-2014, Ryan taught emergency medicine, basic firefighter training and emergency vehicle operations courses at the Technical Education Center Osceola. He has served as an EMT instructor at the Central Florida Fire Academy, and he recently returned from Poland where he taught a class on the use of unmanned aircraft in firefighting.
Using extensive knowledge gathered at the Florida State Fire College and the National Fire Academy in Maryland, Ryan organized and hosted Central Florida’s first Regional Safety Committee Forum to develop a region-wide, collaborative approach to ensuring that Central Florida first responders are practicing their duties in the most efficient and safe way possible. The forums membership has since extended to South Florida and now includes more than 40 different fire departments.
Fire Inspector of the Year: Inspector Jackie de la Osa - North Collier Fire District
Inspector de la Osa has been hailed by her colleagues as one of the most influential members of the Florida fire service community. She has displayed her dedication to the safety of her community by not only enforcing fire and building codes, but also by teaching her counterparts the importance that the codes play in a community’s level of safety. Her commitment has created better-informed, safer community.
Her commitment, expertise and service-driven work ethic are essential to the success of her community’s fire prevention efforts. As a result of her work, she is protecting the residents of Collier County from the dangers of fire, and the lives of firefighters and other first responders as well.
Fire Marshal of the Year: Chief Ted Ross - Tice Fire and Rescue District
A commitment to the fire service runs deep in Chief Ross’ family. In 1994, he followed his father’s footsteps and joined the Tice Fire & Rescue District where he would serve his community for the next 20 years, eventually becoming the district’s fire marshal. In 2013, Chief Ross was promoted to district chief, but his excitement for fire safety did not dwindle. He petitioned to retain his duties as fire marshal, and in an unprecedented move, Chief Ross stepped into a hybrid role, serving as both fire chief and fire marshal.
In 2015, he was instrumental in improving the standing and investigative presence of area fire marshals by campaigning for additional equipment, engaging in educational opportunities and creating a functional consolidation of the fire/arson investigational resources in Lee County.
Chief Ross is not only a leader in his district, but he is also a dedicated teacher and mentor. He has worked to spread his expertise and insight as an instructor at the Southwest Florida Public Service Academy and the Ft. Myers Fire Academy.
Volunteer Firefighter of the Year: Chief Earl Gray - Highland Lakes Fire Department
At the young age of 18, Chief Gray started volunteering as a firefighter, answering the call to duty many times during the course of his 30-year career. Chief Gray’s experience is second to none, as he has been tasked with responding to calls involving distressed children and to high-stress responses involving airplane crashes, large-scale commercial fires and mass-casualty incidents.
As a volunteer fire chief, he is committed to recruiting and retaining other volunteers and equipping them with the tools and resources needed to best serve those in their local community. As a result of his inspirational and empowering characteristics, he has had the privilege of helping many generations of firefighters turn their passion into a career.
Reprinted by permission - Office of Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis Florida Department of Financial Services