The honorees received a $1,000 bonus from the Vosloh Foundation, with taxes being paid by the city of Foley and the school board. The recipients also received certificates from Gulf Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep and Moyer Ford in Foley, offering them the opportunity to purchase a new vehicle at dealer cost with no markup.
Recipients were given a chance to speak with the audience as well as revealing what they will do with their $1,000 bonus.
Foley Fire Chief Joey Darby introduced the Foley firefighter of the year, Brandon Irwin, who has been on the staff since Darby joined the team nine years ago.
“I task our shift supervisors each year to make a nomination at the end of the year,” said Darby. “I give them one month to submit to me nominations and to give me some very good reasons why, and they always do.”
Darby said that when he came to Irwin’s nomination, the shift supervisor had made points that were not at first obvious, as Irwin is a person who often does not want to be at the front, staying behind the scenes instead.
“One of the key statements that his supervisor made was that Brandon constantly does things both around the station and on those fire scenes that not only get the job done, but make him, his shift supervisor, look good,” said Darby. “And I think all of us in leadership, that’s what we want from all of our staff. If our staff is out there working hard to make us look good, then that makes us work harder to make somebody else look good, and in turn it serves our community well.”
Irwin grew up in Foley and began volunteering around 2005 before getting the chance to join the staff full time, and he hasn’t looked back since.
“I feel really blessed to be here,” said Irwin. “It really is an honor, totally a surprise for me … I couldn’t ask for a better job, any better leadership.”
Irwin says that he hasn’t spent his money yet, but there has been talk in his home of a family vacation.
The award ceremony closed with statements from Mayor John Koniar.
“Thank you, Dave and Sue [Vosloh], for what you do for the community, and recognizing all these fine people,” said Koniar. “Congratulations to the winners today, and more importantly thank you to each of you who was recognized today. It means a lot to this community, to our children, to our well-being, to our quality of life.”
The Vosloh Foundation was created originally to give bonuses to the Foley officer of the year and the Foley High School teacher of the year after a survey done in the city resulted in those being the positions voted by the public as most difficult. Over the years and with additional contributions, the foundation has been able to expand the award to now include teachers of the year from all four Foley schools as well as the police officer of the year and firefighter of the year. The Vosloh Foundation has been partnering with the Foley Rotary Club to present the recipients with an awards ceremony lunch since 2012.
The foundation’s goal is to have enough funds to make these awards guaranteed indefinitely.
(Information in this article was taken from a news story by Jessica Vaughn that appeared in The Onlooker and on the Gulf Coast Media website GulfCoastNewsToday.com.)