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NEWS | April 21, 2023

First responders recognized for life-saving response

By Kristen Wong JBAB Public Affairs

If you ask first responders why they serve, many will simply say helping others provides their daily motivation.
On April 13, 2023, at the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling fire station in Washington, D.C., first responders from Naval District Washington Fire and Emergency Services were recognized for heroic acts of service.
Certificates of Life Saving were awarded to:
— Fire Inspector Alex Conover
— Fire Inspector Alexis Frye
Certificates of Significant Achievement were awarded to:
— Fire Capt. Joshua Carlson
— Firefighter Timothy Donais
— Firefighter Zachary Werkheiser
— Firefighter Barry Girard
— Firefighter Sean Milstead
— Firefighter Keith Mitchell
— Firefighter Jared Lyon
— Firefighter Medic Mary Ann Harris
JBAB’s vice commander, U.S. Air Force Col. Ryan Zeitler, and senior enlisted leader, U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Clifford Lawton, were in attendance, as well as NDWFES’ regional chief, Fire Chief Kevin Grinder, and district chief, Fire Chief Moises Colon.
“We have a group of highly-trained and motivated personnel who are ready to respond to all types of hazards, 24/7, to protect our residents, employees, tenants and visitors,” said Grinder before the presentation.
The incident the first responders were recognized for occurred in November 2022, when a patron at the JBAB gas station went into cardiac arrest.
Despite not being officially dispatched, Conover and Frye were among the first on the scene.
“We listen to the radio all day, just like everyone else,” said Conover. “We knew all the other units around JBAB and the Navy Yard were out doing other calls, so there were no units left on JBAB. When a call came out for CPR in-progress over at the gas station, me and [Frye] basically knew we were going to go. We were heading out the door before we even said anything to each other.”
Conover and Frye arrived behind a District of Columbia ambulance and they were able to help successfully resuscitate the patient.
This type of emergency response is not uncommon for NDWFES.
“All of our personnel are cross-trained in fire and EMS (Emergency Medical Services), to include our fire inspectors and training officers,” said Grinder. “They keep a radio on them the whole time they're here to respond to calls like this and to make themselves available. In this case, we were doing some training and they were at the right place and the right time to be [one of] the first ones there.”
NDWFES’ area of responsibility includes the National Capital Region and surrounding areas, comprising 14 fire stations and almost 300 personnel. They also led the Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) last year as the region with the most Life Saving Awards.
“Nobody does this for the recognition,” said Grinder. “But we want to recognize them. It's a morale-booster and gives them that affirmation that they're doing the right thing, that their work is appreciated.”
Helping the community is Conover’s motivation. He said, “It's not the glory of going into the fire every day anymore. Now I'd rather help people out and do the small things… It’s about helping your neighbor and the satisfaction knowing their life is improved because of something you did.”