Wright-Patt Fire Department honored by Miami Valley Fire Alliance

  • Published
  • By R.J. Oriez
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- A regional association of fire departments honored the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Fire Department and Fire Inspector Shaun Bigler individually during a lunch meeting Aug. 23.

The Miami Valley Fire/EMS Alliance, which has a membership of about 20 departments, recognized the Wright-Patt Fire Department and Bigler with its annual customer service awards for accomplishments in 2022.

“This is being awarded to the department that has led the way through innovation and cooperation to excel and go above and beyond their daily endeavors to provide quality fire service to the community,” Anne Beach, an alliance staff member, said about the Fire Department, part of the 788th Civil Engineer Squadron. 

Beach said Bigler was honored for going the extra mile and showing the way.

“The award goes to someone who is an example of service above self,” she said. “This individual performs beyond the normal day-to-day fire service activities by reaching out to the community, to educate, to encourage and to be an example to their peers.”

In 2022, the Fire Department responded to 200 mutual-aid calls, assisting area departments and helping protect local communities, according to the awards package. It also provided live-fire training to eight local agencies.

When the Beavercreek Fire Department needed knowledgeable, third-party observers to grade one of its training exercises in early March 2022, officials turned to the Wright-Patt Fire Department.

“It’s been great, the support that they’ve provided,” Beavercreek Fire Chief David VandenBos said at the time. “The fact that they’re willing to come out and stand in the cold with us and give us honest feedback on our performance is helpful.”

Bigler has been with the Wright-Patterson Fire Department seven years and conducts inspection of base facilities, ensuring they are up to fire-safety standards. He is also a resource when facility managers have questions.

The fire inspector said he gets emails with pictures attached asking him about a wide range of situations.

“When they come up with questions for me, I have to look it up, research and send them back the answer,” Bigler said.

Often, he’ll see something else in the photo that also needs attention—like the wrong type of pellets being stored inside a space.

“In that picture, you also have this, just for your awareness,” he will tell them.

The awards did not come as a surprise to the Fire Department’s chain of command.

“It’s awesome. Our Fire Department is awesome. They have an awesome crew,” said Amir Mott, 88th Civil Engineer Group deputy director. “They have a lot of technical capability that many fire departments don’t have, not just within the Air Force, but in the local area. What they’re able to provide in terms of capability to the surrounding communities, through the mutual-aid support, is tremendous.

“I am excited and grateful that the guys won those awards, but it doesn’t surprise me.”