By Mrs. Jennifer Bacchus (AMC)March 23, 2017
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Four employees in Anniston Army Depot's Directorate of Emergency Services were recently honored by Army Materiel Command.
Stephen Batey received an award as the fire officer of the year for AMC.
Batey has served DES' Fire and Emergency Services Division for 11 years.
Ricky Gilchrist was named the dispatcher of the year.
Gilchrist has been a depot employee for 13 years.
Michael Wood earned the title of medical services provider of the year.
Wood has been a paramedic since 1998 and has worked for the depot since 2009.
Donald Heard, chief for the Fire and Emergency Services Division, was nominated by AMC for the Department of the Army's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Heard has been with ANAD for 28 years and has been in the fire service for 32 years. He began his career in Oxford, where he continues to serve as an assistant fire chief.
"I started as a GS-5 firefighter and worked my way up the rolls," said Heard.
As he worked his way up, he became an emergency medical technician in the late '80s and then a paramedic eight years later.
In 2004, Heard was selected as the chief.
"He is one of the longer-serving fire chiefs and the most senior fire chief in AMC," said Scott Pope, an assistant chief for Fire and Emergency Services. "That usually doesn't happen. Most chiefs serve four or five years."
"Chief Heard is a dedicated, career professional and we are honored to have him serving on the depot," said Bob Ray, deputy director of Emergency Services at ANAD. "He is very deserving of this award, as are the others who were honored in this year's round of awards through AMC."
In Heard's time on depot, the installation saw both the beginning and the end of chemical weapon demilitarization.
"It gave us the ability to be part of making the community a safer place," he said.
The end of that mission has given his department the opportunity to focus attention in other areas, such as fire prevention.
"I feel like we have the best fire prevention program in the Army," said Heard.
He said a large portion of the success of the organization comes from its personnel. The firefighters, EMTs and paramedics not only serve ANAD, many of them serve the communities they live in as well.
Among the staff there are four fire chiefs, one fire captain, one assistant chief, one inspector and numerous firefighters and paramedics for various local municipalities and volunteer fire departments.
"We've got people who work hard and do a great job for ANAD," said Heard. "We've got some of the best people in the area working for our department. They bring outstanding professionalism and character to the job."
All four award winners will compete at the Department of the Army level. Determination in that portion of the competition is scheduled to be made later this month.