All photos courtesy of the Ventura Fire Department
On Friday, April 21, the Ventura Fire Department and Ventura Fire Foundation recognized the outstanding achievements of six firefighters and two public employees at its annual ball and awards ceremony held at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach.
Captain Austin Araiza received the Firefighter of the Year award for consistently going beyond the call of duty, while Engineer Zach Benner was named Paramedic of the Year. The Greg Andrews Safety Award, recognizing a continued commitment to ensuring a safer workplace for all, was presented to Captain Christopher Pironti. The Fire Prevention Employee of the Year Award went to Luis Martinez. The 3rd Alarm Award honors those who go above and beyond the initial call of duty by providing invaluable support in times of great need, and the 2023 recipients were Captain Shawn Hughes, Captain Kyle Tong and Administrative Assistant Kris Edwards.
This year, the VFD introduced the Matthew Clapsaddle Career Achievement Award, created in honor of Firefighter-Paramedic Matthew Clapsaddle, who passed away on Aug. 20, 2022. This special award was given to Firefighter-Paramedic Ryan Howard for providing incredible support to the Clapsaddle family immediately following Matt’s passing.
“Each individual recognized at this event embodies care, compassion and a steadfast commitment to serving our community,” stated Fire Chief David Endaya. “Our city is enriched by its exceptional firefighters and staff who go above and beyond to enhance public safety at the local level. The individuals being honored have demonstrated an outstanding level of dedication in providing high-quality service to those in need.”
At the ceremony, service awards and recent retirements were