Local Firefighters Celebrate Awards Night

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Firefighters and members of the community were honored Friday night in a ceremony at the Double Tree Hotel in Colorado Springs for their bravery and service to the city.

Springs Fire Chief Rich Brown said it best when he described the year as a challenging one, but that Friday was when they could sit back and honor those who deserve it most. Several awards were handed out to very deserving firefighters, paramedics and community members who were just at the right place at the right time and stepped in to help. There was some focus on this year's big fire, the Waldo Canyon Fire.

A third of the Springs firefighters that worked on that fire were recognized for their efforts on the night; the other two-thirds will be honored in a separate ceremony next June.

The big award of the night was firefighter of the year and went to Battalion Chief Jim Schanel. Brown said Schanel is a big part of their wildland training and firefighting.

Schanel didn’t know he was getting the award, and was on duty for the night. He said he’s not only shocked but excited about the honor.