The Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department recently competed in Installation Management Command's annual Fire and Emergency Services Awards and won top honors in three of the five categories they entered, with two individual awards and one department.

Darrin Shiplett, fire inspector, won the 2017 Department of the Army Fire Inspector of the Year Award.

"Mr. Shiplett is an outstanding professional who takes pride in every aspect of protecting the Fort Leonard Wood community," said Bradley Bowling, fire chief. "His commitment to improving training, education and the safety of the local community resulted in his selection as the Fire Inspector of the Year."

Listed among Shiplett's many accomplishments was performing fire-prevention inspections leading to the installation's smallest annual fire loss since 1993.

He credits those he works with for motivating him and said they are all just as deserving of this award.

"I enjoy working around a group of people that look out for each other and make you feel that you are an important part of the team," Shiplett said. "Working here gives me the opportunity to work and excel with exceptional fire-prevention professionals. The experience level in our office motivates me to be a better inspector and keeps me on my toes. Our prevention chief gives us the latitude to excel by giving us workloads and duties that are both complementary and challenging."

Michael Campbell, fire inspector, won the 2017 Department of the Army Fire Instructor of the Year Award and has moved on to compete at the Department of Defense level.

One of Campbell's many accomplishments was organizing interdepartmental training with surrounding departments at no cost to the Army.

"Mr. Campbell is one of those firefighters who is a driven professional in every sense of the phrase," Bowling said. "Agencies and organizations consistently request him by name, due to his earned reputation as an expert. His contributions to the safety of our community and commitment to improving emergency first responder capabilities enables (us) to be the best in the Army."

Campbell also attributes his win to encouragement and support of his co-workers, but also to the mentorship of his supervisor Assistant Chief Kevin Curtis.

"(I enjoy) the comradery and shared commitment to public safety all personnel in the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department provides to our community on a daily basis," Campbell said. "Firemen never know what they will encounter on each call but proceed with the same level of commitment and service."

Bowling said both men are outstanding employees and are always willing to go the extra mile in order to help the community.

The Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department also won IMCOM Fire Department of the Year, small category, which Bowling said is due to the hard work and dedication of the staff.

"We were up against some great departments," Bowling said. "But, we have a great group of professionals here who are not content to sit back and just show up for work. (They) are always looking for training opportunities and looking to improve the organization through internal projects. We also have great leaders who mentor their folks and pass on the knowledge that helps to shape the future leaders of this organization."

Bowling said many of his firefighters have strong ties to the area, amplifying their desire to serve the community, which he said shows.

"The pride that everyone has for this department clearly shows in everything they do, and it was great to see that recognized during this award process," he said.

In 2017, the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department protected more than 13 million square-feet of facilities, responded to 869 emergencies, engaged 59 wild fires, without injuries; decreased housing fires by 95 percent, earned 44 firefighter certifications, and performed 32 car seat safety checks.