By Dedra Cordle
Reliable. Hard working. Inspiring.
Dedicated. Respectful. Respected.
Those are just a few of the words used to describe the recipients of the Jackson Township Fire Department’s Firefighter and Officer of the Year during their annual awards ceremony on June 28.
Receiving the Firefighter of the Year Award was Greg Richards, a 29-year veteran of the department.
Upon graduating from Westland High School in the late 1980s, Richards said he had little idea as to what he wanted to do for a career.
“Firefighting never really came to mind,” he said.
But when his friend encouraged him to apply for an open position, he decided to do so as something of a lark.
“I heard back from them, went through training and that was that,” he said. “I’ve been in love with this job ever since.”
Throughout his nearly 30-year career, Richards has made a name for himself amongst his peers as someone who can be counted on as a career guide, in a crisis, and sometimes even as a voice of reason.
“He is very well thought of by his coworkers,” said Fire Chief Randy Little. “From those coming up through the ranks to those in higher positions, Greg is a true role model for everyone in the department.”
Deputy Fire Chief Shawn Quincel quipped that even though Richards is “well into his career,” there is little sign of him slowing down despite his age.
“I’m so proud of him,” he said on a more serious note. “We came into this department at the same time and watching him become a great firefighter has been inspiring.”
Receiving the Officer of the Year Award was Three Unit Battalion Chief Scott Bowyer.
Unlike Richards, the graduate of Grove City High School knew he wanted to be a firefighter since childhood.
“I came from a family of firefighters and I always knew that was what I wanted to do,” he said.
In 1990, he was hired by the Jackson Township Fire Department and has been working there since, making a name for himself amongst his peers as someone who looks out for those on the job and throughout the community.
“Scott sets an example for all of us,” said Little.
The Firefighter of the Year award and the Officer of the Year award was the first for Richards and Bowyer. Both expressed surprise by the recognition and both expressed gratitude for the nomination by their peers.
“This award is really for them,” said Bowyer. “They make it truly easy to do my job.”