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SHREWSBURY, Massachusetts – Capt. Rick Tustin, president of the Massachusetts Association of Fire and Safety Educators, (MaSAFE), presented a citation to Chief James M. Vuona of Shrewsbury, citing his long term commitment to fire education.
MA SAFE honors fire chiefs for excellence in leadership of community fire education efforts. Often these efforts are behind the scenes and not readily noticed. No community fire educator can be successful without the support of the fire chief. Introducing the award, retired Mendon Fire Chief Charlie Johnson said, “Fire chiefs know that our responsibility is to not only respond to and suppress fires but also to prevent them from happening. There is no better way to accomplish this than with prevention through education.”
Chief James M. Vuona, Shrewsbury Fire Department
Fire Chief James Vuona of Shrewsbury has instilled the mantra of customer service to each and every firefighter in the department every time they interact with the public. As the former fire prevention officer he built strong programs with the schools, other town offices, and businesses. With strong succession planning he was able to pass those programs to new personnel who have strengthened and improved those community relationships. His staff says, “The chief takes every opportunity for public education whether it’s the traditional S.A.F.E. Program, the Spirit of Shrewsbury Day, fire station tours, working with scouts, the senior center or persuading the housing authority to install low-temperature burners or in-hood extinguishers.”
Topsfield Fire Chief Ronald P. Giovannacci was the 2011 honoree. Worcester Fire Chief Gerard Dio was the 2010 honoree. Chief David LaFond, now retired of Holyoke, received the award in 2009 and Chief Ronald Scott, now retired of Mattapoisett, received the first award in 2008.
About the Award
The Massachusetts Public Fire and Life Safety Education Task Force and the Massachusetts Association of Safety and Fire Educators annually presents an excellence in leadership award to honor fire chiefs for their community fire education efforts. This award is designed to recognize fire chiefs for their involvement and commitment to making our world safer from fire and other preventable injuries. The award seeks to honor those who not only support fire education, but also communicate a vision and their value of fire education within the entire department and across the entire community.