Honoring exceptional service at Fort Wainwright

By Daniel NelsonApril 9, 2024

Honoring exceptional service at Fort Wainwright
Curtis Forbes (left), recognized as the Department of the Army EMS Provider of the Year 2023, alongside Sunya Maxwell (right), awarded DOD Civilian Firefighter of the Year 2023 at the Installation Management Command – Pacific level, stand with pride in front of a Fort Wainwright Fire Department ambulance, reflecting the distinguished recognition of their lifesaving skills and commitment to excellence. (Courtesy photo) (Photo Credit: Fort Wainwright Public Affairs Office) VIEW ORIGINAL

The Fort Wainwright community recently recognized the exemplary service of two individuals who have stood out for their contributions, setting a high standard of dedication and professionalism within their respective fields. Their efforts have not only enhanced the installation's safety and well-being but also fostered a stronger sense of community and support.

In recognition at the Installation Management Command - Pacific level, Sunya Maxwell and Curtis Forbes have been honored for their outstanding service, embodying the spirit of commitment that defines Fort Wainwright.

Maxwell's selection for nomination from across all U.S. Army installations in the Pacific Region for the DOD Civilian Firefighter of the Year 2023 is marked by her unwavering dedication to her role and the community she serves. Her accomplishments include completing an extensive range of Career Development Courses in her first year, such as Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting and various Driver Operator certifications. This rigorous training prepared her to face any emergency with expertise and confidence.

"Being a Firefighter in itself gives you a sense of purpose every time you are able to help those in need," Maxwell said, highlighting the inherent value of her work. She emphasizes the special relationship between the fire department and the Fort Wainwright community, noting, "At Fort Wainwright, I believe that we are a part of the community, and are appreciated."

Her commitment to strengthen the bonds within the Fort Wainwright and Fairbanks communities extend beyond the call of duty, particularly in strengthening mutual aid relationships with neighboring fire departments. Her involvement in community fire safety programs underlines a holistic approach to firefighting.

"The greatest quality as well as the greatest fulfillment I get with this department is the relationship we have with the smaller fire departments we have surrounding us," said Maxwell.

Having worked closely with these departments, Maxwell values the shared experiences and resources, acknowledging their collective impact on community safety. "Having worked for two of these departments, the Fort Wainwright Fire Department’s mutual aid assistance has saved countless homes, lives and pets.

"These mutual aid fire departments know they are receiving experienced and knowledgeable crews and command staff on every fire," she added.

“The Annual Fire and Emergency Services Awards are comprised of 10 separate categories and always have fierce competition. After competing at the ID Pacific level, winners are forwarded for further competition at IMCOM, AMC, DA and DOD levels,” stated Rich March, fire protection specialist with U.S. Army Installation Management Command-Pacific Directorate. “The USAG Alaska garrisons performed extremely well this year with incredible responses in Arctic conditions and executing with manpower shortages.”

Forbes was recognized as the Department of the Army EMS Provider of the Year 2023, speaking to his exceptional role in emergency medical services. Forbes demonstrated a profound commitment to life-saving care and medical excellence, evidenced by his response to over 183 Advanced Life Support calls and the pursuit of national and State of Alaska paramedic certifications.

His dedication to educating and training firefighters in medical response further illustrates his commitment to enhancing the Fort Wainwright Fire Department’s capabilities, ensuring that the community benefits from highly skilled and knowledgeable EMS providers.

The achievements of Maxwell and Forbes reflect their exceptional service and dedication to Fort Wainwright and its community. Through their professional excellence and commitment to community engagement, they inspire others to strive for the highest standards of service and serving as role models for future generations of firefighters and EMS providers.

Their achievements highlight not only their individual excellence but also their significant contribution to fostering a culture of leadership, collaboration and commitment within the Fort Wainwright community. "Fort Wainwright is not just a military installation in Fairbanks, Alaska; it is an integral part of the Fairbanks North Star Borough," stated Maxwell.