Big Bear, CA – A milestone was achieved as the Big Bear Professional Firefighters’ Association hosted its inaugural Fireman’s Ball. Guests packed the Big Bear Convention Center Saturday, August 25 for a night of celebration, fundraising and first-class fun.
The evening kicked off with Big Bear’s own Mountain Top Strings providing entertainment during Social Hour, followed by the Big Bear Fire Department Color Guard’s moving presentation of colors accompanied by ceremonial bagpipes. Fire Captain/Paramedic Dan Rogers, President of the Association, thanked the community for their continued support of the Fire Department. He welcomed the gathering stating, “when I look into this crowd, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with appreciation. This valley has a community connection that is second to none!” Captain Rogers presented a moving video of the current challenges facing the Department in our growing community.
Fire Chief Jeff Willis presented awards recognizing the Department’s Firefighter of the Year, Nick Bruinsma. Firefighter of the Year exemplifies the positive characteristics of a member of the fire service, with a notable record of service and achievements. This award is presented to an individual who has given selflessly of themselves in support of the Fire Department, the fire service and the community in general. Although Nick Bruinsma retired from the Department in June as the Assistant Fire Marshal, he remains active with the Department as a Paid Call Captain and continues to go above and beyond the call of duty to support the Department and the community.
This year, for the first time, the Department also presented an award recognizing Rookie of the Year. Firefighter/EMT Jason Dmytriw and Firefighter/EMT Dylan Unger were both honored for their service excellence. All awardees were also recognized by State Assemblyman Jay Obernolte who was present at the event. They also received certificates from Senator Morrell and Congressman Cook.
The formal program rolled into the festivities of the evening as Assemblyman Obernolte successfully rallied the crowd as Auctioneer for the LIVE Auction, bringing in generous donations from successful bidders. Before the Ball finally closed its doors for the evening, the band Bad Dancers played something to suit everyone’s dancing pleasure with little bit of country and a little bit of rock n roll.