South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue recognizes firefighters at annual award ceremony | TahoeDailyTribune.com

South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue recognizes firefighters at annual award ceremony

Blue Balcita
Tribune Contributor

Trent Renner, center, receives the firefighter of the year award.

Outgoing Fire Chief Jeff Meston addressed the state of the South Lake Tahoe Fire and Rescue department at the annual South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue award ceremony Jan. 30 at City Hall.

Mayor Brooke Laine began the award ceremony by praising the SLTFR Department.

Meston, who recently gave notice of his retirement later this month, then delivered his address on the state of the department.

In his speech, Meston cited similarities between South Lake Tahoe and Paradise — where the deadly Camp Fire claimed the lives of more than 80 people in 2018.

"I see similarities between Tahoe and Paradise. When I went there on a special team it reminded me of Tahoe. Our hospital — Barton — and theirs are very similar and it burnt down," Meston said.

Upon the completion of his speech, as well as the speech of SLTFA President Scott Blasser, Meston began the award ceremony by first inviting the wife of Battalion Chief Jay Manning to pin him with his new badge before Meston swore him in as a battalion chief. Next firefighter/paramedic Tyler Mahr was also badge pinned by his girlfriend and sworn in by Meston.

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Following Mahr, Capt. Kim George awarded Mike Cullen with the South Tahoe Action Team Volunteer of the Year. Then Battalion Chief Jim Drennan awarded the dispatcher of the year award to Jen Ezell. Firefighter of the year was awarded next to Trent Renner by Battalion Chief Karl Koeppen.

The last award given was the Fire Chief Meritorious Award to Phil Harwood upon which he was dubbed an "honorary engineer."