From staff reports
The Burton Fire District recognized and honored its 2020 Firefighter and Fire Officer of the Year late last month.
On Friday, May 21, Burton Fire Chief Harry Rountree recognized the district’s Firefighter and Fire Officer of the Year in front of family and peers. Due to COVID-19, the district was unable to hold its annual awards banquet, so it held smaller ceremonies in the open fire station bay at the district’s headquarters station with crews and immediate family members.
Burton Fire Lieutenant/EMT Jonathan Calcorzi was nominated by district firefighters as Fire Officer of the Year for 2020. Lt. Calcorzi, a former U.S. Marine, was described by his peers as always going the extra mile and willing to step up and lead by example, being compassionate, patient, cool under fire and calm when giving orders.
Lt. Calcorzi was also selected by district members as Firefighter of the Year in 2019. In 2001, Jonathan was also chosen by his fire academy classmates to receive the Order of the Maltese Cross award, which is given to the student who best exhibits the honor of the fire service.
Burton Engineer/Paramedic Danielle VanDam was nominated by district firefighters as Firefighter of the Year for 2020. Danielle, a former MMA fighter, recently graduated from the lengthy and rigorous National Registry paramedic course, and eagerly offers her knowledge and skills by providing extra medical training to the firefighters on her shift.
In addition to her routine duties, she teaches community CPR, performs extra duty as the district’s assistant Infection Control Officer requiring many off-duty hours, and has helped streamline the district’s advanced emergency medical program. Her peers noted that in addition to exceeding in her professional duties, Mrs. VanDam is also a mother of two who is pursuing her masters degree in health sciences, and trainer in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, powerlifting, and bodybuilding.
“Nominations and selections for these awards can be difficult,” Chief Rountree said. “But I believe Lieutenant Calcorzi and Engineer VanDam best represent the character and commitment of all of our personnel and why we are successful in providing the efficient and professional services that our citizens deserve, especially in meeting the challenge of providing emergency services during the pandemic. I’m proud of them both.”