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Posted by: thepinetree on 12/11/2017 09:32 AM Updated by: thepinetree on 12/12/2017 12:31 PM
Expires: 01/01/2022 12:00 AM

San Andreas Fire Protection District Honors firefighters! Honors Presented During a Dinner on Dec. 9

San Andreas Fire Protection District on Saturday honored district personnel for their service. The top awards of the night went to two seasoned captains who hold down full time jobs outside the fire service yet still somehow find the time to respond dozens of times a year – sometimes dozens of times a month – to emergency calls in their community. San Andreas Fire Chief Don Young singled out Capt. Brian Santos and Capt. Susan Young for their unpaid service to the district. Santos works full time as an ambulance paramedic in Stockton. Young works for the U.S. Postal Service. Yet both of them don their fire gear and respond when needed, often in the middle of the night when they would otherwise be sleeping.

Chief Young noted that neither Santos nor Capt. Young, who is his wife, are paid for their work. In addition to responding to service calls, Capt. Young is also a president of the San Andreas Firefighters Association. In that capacity, she leads efforts to raise money to buy safety gear and other equipment.

Chief Young also honored two young firefighters who are paid stipends when they work 24-hour shifts at the San Andreas fire station. Young presented this year’s Golden Axe Awards to brothers Kevin and Keith Hall.

Both are engineers and hold the rank of lieutenant in the district. Kevin was the first to join the district in 2014. Keith followed in 2015.

The Halls’ rapid rise in the department is particularly remarkable because it comes at the same time that their family was forced to relocate to Manteca because their Calaveras County home was destroyed in the 2015 Butte Fire.
The Halls sometimes serve on strike teams that travel to assist with major wildfires. That happened in October when Kevin Hall was part of a strike team that battled the firestorms that devastated a number of locations including Santa Rosa and Napa. While he was gone, his brother helped cover his shifts at the home station in San Andreas.
The other major award of the night went to Capt. Mike Downs. He received the Firefighters Choice Award. The award recipient is chosen by a vote of the members of the San Andreas Firefighters Association.

Downs formerly worked as a firefighter for the Nevada Division of Forestry and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. He currently serves regular shifts as the duty officer who oversees an engine crew. He served with the strike team that battled the firestorms in October. Not long after returning from that service, he led the initial attack to put out a house fire in San Andreas on Oct. 26.

The awards were presented during a dinner Dec. 9 in the San Andreas Town Hall. More than 130 firefighters and family members were on hand to witness the ceremony.

Other honorees were:
· Capt. Matt Berlier, who receive the Leadership Award.
· Firefighters James Stewart and Caleb Steffes, recognized as Rookies of the Year.
· Firefighter Kirk Overley, who received the John Wayne/True Grit Award.
· Firefighter Caleb Wickham received the Most Improved Award.

To learn more about the district or to volunteer go to

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