IAFF Media Awards 2002

You are here:

IAFF 2002 Media Awards


How the Contest Works

The contest was open to any news report, photograph published or broadcast in 2001. There are separate categories for newspaper articles, photos, television news broadcasts and radio reports, as well as affiliate public relations projects, publications and web sites. All entries are submitted on behalf of the journalists by local IAFF affiliates.
Judging for the contest was conducted by Marty Sonnenberg, videographer, and Bill Webb, Executive Director of the Congressional Fire Services Institute.
First place award winners receive $600 and a plaque, and second place winners $300 and a citation. Honorable mention and special recognition awards receive certificates. In addition to improving the portrayal of fire fighters and raising the awareness of their issues, the contest is intended to foster better relations between IAFF affiliates and their local media.



First Place: “ Survivor: The miraculous story of Newton firefighter  Raymond McNamara

The Boston Globe, May 6, 2001 
Story by
: Dick Lehr 
Submitted by
: Newton, MA Local 2759

“For all he’s been through, Ray Mac has not folded… he keeps pushing himself, even if his bid to seize the day often comes up short.”

“Realizing these people can survive. I am just glad nobody decided to put him in the corner with morphine. He is wonderful. He’s had his dark days, but he’s doing well. He’s there.”

Newton MA Local 2759 member Ray McNamara came face-to-face with an inferno in the H. C. Starck’s chemical plant that changed the lives of Mac (as he is known), his wife Denise and his family, forever. It is a well-written story of courage, will and survival. This feature compels one to read on and admire the endurance and determination of a man whose spirit brought him back from the jaws of death.

Second Place: “New Standard Under Fire

Sun-Sentinel, June 10, 2001 
Story by
: Shannon O’Boye 
Submitted by
: Broward County, FL Local 3333

“A fire fighter’s job is inherently risky, but fire fighters say they are put at greater risk when staffing levels are low. Nationwide, fire fighters are busier than ever. Many are cross-trained as paramedics and respond to car accidents, heart attacks, shootings and stabbings. Specialty fire fighters perform technical rescues, vehicle extrications and water rescues; they battle wildfires in the Everglades and handle hazardous material spills and natural gas leaks.”

“You can have all the equipment and tools to do the job but if you don’t have the personnel to save the person’s life or put out the fire in a timely manner, it’s all for naught.”

This story explores the hurdles in the way of implementing the NFPA 1710 standard and justifies why its important to implement it. It is a well-researched piece and the writer has gone to great lengths to learn the issue and explain about it.

Honorable Mention: “The mark of a man: As Bob Spence lays dying, his friends rally
Vancouver Sun, Aug. 24, 2001; Stories by: Yvonne Zacharias; Submitted by: Vancouver, Burnaby BC Local 18

Honorable Mention: “Hackensack firemen feel special bond with FDNY
Sept. 25, 2001;
Firemen Bestow the gift of life on Paterson family “
Jan. 23, 2001
Rescued child’s death haunts firemen
Jan 21, 2001;

The Record; Stories by: Elaine D’Aurizio; Submitted by: Professional Fire fighters of New Jersey, Local 94-UFA and Local 854-New York Officers, NY

Circulation Under 100,000

First Place: “More Than Firefighting: Lodi department adjusts to role – but no more cat rescues

Lodi News-Sentinel, June 9, 2001 
Story by
: Jennifer Pearson Bonnett & Photos by: Jennifer Matthews-Howell Submitted by: Lodi, CA Local 1225

“Fire fighters retrieve children locked in cars, respond to administer first aid, and clean up hazardous materials from methamphetamine labs. That is the changing face of fire fighters – less fighting fires and more providing medical aid and roadside services. It’s a face some in the profession wish the public saw better.

You have to be ready at the drop of a hat for anything and everything. You have to evolve into what the public expects. If they see something on TV following a natural disaster like an earthquake, the expectation is that we can do it. That is always changing, said Battalion Chief Jim Inman.”

The article is an excellent exposure of the changing role of a professional fire fighter’s job and the range of expertise with which they have to respond to fire or non-fire related emergencies. It is an impressive piece that educates the local community and builds favorable public opinion for our members, especially in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001.

Second Place: “Angel from 2 doors down saves life

Courier News, Nov. 29, 2001 
Story by
: Tony Sclafani 
Submitted by
: North Plainfield, NJ Local 2958

“Torlish started cardiopulmonary resuscitation, trying to save the life of a neighbor who hugged him after learning Torlish had received a state valor award for fire fighters earlier this year… Torlish, who had been recovering from non-cancerous lymph node surgery, pulled out some stitches during the Nov. 16 rescue, but said it was well worth it. ‘Everyday I am proud to be a firefighter, the good days or the bad days, the best job in the world,’ he said.”

The story reflects the selfless and compassionate nature of our members in helping every community, anywhere in North America. Our members are always on the front line, even when they are home recuperating from cancer, and ready to put down their lives to save others any time, anywhere.

Honorable Mention: “Madmen didn’t count on America’s unity
Current-Argus, Oct. 4 2001; Stories by: Lynn Barker; Submitted by: Los Angeles City, CA Local 112




First place: “Fire Fighters Raising American Flag on Ground Zero on Sept. 11”

Three New York fire fighters – Dan McWilliams, George Johnson, and Billy Eisengrein – raise a flag among the wreckage of Ground Zero. This image was transformed into a global message about the courage of fire fighters, who in the face of this horrible disaster, battled the unimaginable. The picture is a symbolic representation that life and America would go on, and has been compared to the famous photo of Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima during World War II.

The Record
Photo by:
 Thomas E. Franklin
Submitted by: Uniformed Fire fighters Association of New York Local 94, New York Uniformed Fire Officer Association Local 854 and Professional Fire fighters Association of New Jersey.

First place: “Baby Safe After Crash”

Fire Fighter Don Cunningham, a member of Los Angeles City Local 112 comforts a baby on the scene of a serious three-car crash. The photo depicts fire fighter care, courage and concern in dealing with intense situations every day.

Los Angeles Fire Fighter
Photo by: 
Martin Nate Rawner
Submitted by: 
Los Angeles City, CA Local 112

Second place: Shining Through”

The early morning sun reflects off broken windows of a building next to the site of the former World Trade Center, illuminating the ever-present smoke and dust. The picture reminds viewers of sunrise and conveys an overpowering message of hope and life after an unimaginable tragedy.

Photo by:
 Lt. Andy Berkowitz 
Submitted by:
 Broward Count, FL Local 3333

Second Place: “Explosion”

Explosion caused by back-draft caught live by the photographer at Camaraderie café and bar in Eau Claire. It is a rare picture that captures the unexpected – an explosion hurtling objects and pieces of a building.

Eau Claire Leader-Telegram
Photo by
: Steven Kinderman 
Submitted by
: Eau Claire, WI Local 487

Honorable Mention: “Apartment Fire”; Fort Worth Star Telegram; Photo by: Glen Ellman; Submitted by: Local 440 Fort Worth

Fort Worth Local 440 fire fighter Kenny Dean calls for assistance in fighting the blaze that heavily damaged and destroyed seven units and displaced nine people in the Hidden Forest apartments 

Honorable Mention: “Firefighters Battle Boyertown Inferno”; The Mercury Newspaper; Photo by: Kevin Hoffman; Submitted by: Pottstown, PA Local 3536

A rainbow frames firefighters as they battle a multi-alarm blaze in a warehouse in Pottstown.


Honorable Mention: “New York Embraces our Fire fighters”; Vancouver Sun; Photo by: Ian Smith; Submitted by: Local 18-Vancouver

Vancouver Local 18 fire fighter Alex Noke-Smith attends the funeral of his New York comrade Christian Michael Otto Regenhard.

Honorable Mention: “Agony”; The Journal Times; Photo by: Mark Hertzberg; Submitted by: Racine, WI Local 321

Elizabeth Lockridge-Lewis, the owner of the house at 233 Frank Ave., in Racine County, Wisc., frantically asks Racine, WI Local 321 members about a missing Child.

Honorable Mention: “Help the Victims”; Cleveland Plain Dealer; Photo by: Chris Stephens; Submitted by: Cleveland, OH Local 93

Cleveland Local 93 member Alberto Ramos kneels down to accept donation from a young visitor at Jacob’s Field. Fire fighters collected donations to help victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Honorable Mention:  “Flags”; The Cincinnati Enquirer; Photo by: Glenn Hartong; Submitted by: Cincinnati, OH Local 48

Cincinnati fire fighter at Fifth Street and Central Av. Downtown collecting donations for the families of the New York firefighters lost and injured in the attack on the World Trade center. Behind him a huge American flag hung outside of WCPO-TV.

Honorable Mention: Los Angeles Times; Photo by: Richard Koehler; Submitted by: Newport Beach, CA Local 3734


First Place: “Man down: heroism in the line of duty

DeWitt Times, Apr. 18, 2001  
: Jodie Heim 
Submitted by
: Syracuse, NY Local 280

Second Place: “What Fire Department Cuts Mean to You

The Post-Journal , Nov. 4, 2001
Columnist: Brian Bochm
Submitted by: Jamestown, NY Local 1772

Honorable Mention: “Renew Medic One, the county’s lifeline” Seattle Times, Oct. 30, 2001; Columnist: Charles Hawkins; Submitted by: Seattle, WA Local 27


First PlaceDeadly Duties: A Series on fire Fighters and Cancer

Reported by
: David McLaughlin
Submitted by:
 DVP Bruce Carpenter

Second PlaceFireman For A Day

Reported by:
 Cisco Cotto and Michael Garay 
Submitted by
: Chicago, IL Local 2


First Place“Sick Fire fighters”

WESH News Channel 2 
Reported by
: Jack Fink 
Submitted by
: Orlando, FL Local 1365

Second Place: A Wonderful Life: The Timothy Stackpole Story”

ABC News Primetime
Reported by
: Cynthia McFadden, Peter J. Ward and Thomas Berman 
Submitted by:
 Newark Officers, NJ Local 1860

Honorable Mention“HazMat Response” ; Channel 4; Reported by: Staff Members; Submitted by: Metro Dade, FL Local 1403

Honorable Mention“Survive A Fire”; WFXT-TV Fox 25; Reported by: Rob Reardon and Debbi Rodman; Submitted by: Yarmouth, MA Local 2122

Honorable Mention: “City Scene: HazMat Training“; City of Milwaukee, City Channel ; Reported by: Dennis Geraghty ; Submitted by: Milwaukee, WI Local 215

Honorable Mention: “Children Aren’t Waterproof” ; KVOA-TV 4; Reported by: Jimmy Stewart; Submitted by: Tucson, AZ Local 479

Honorable Mention: “MSNBC Investigates: Attack on America: A Doctor’s Tale”; MSNBC; Reported by: Ty West ; Submitted by: Jersey City, NJ Local 1066

Honorable Mention“Lake Superior Ice Rescue” ; WDID/WIRT-TV ; Reported by: Sofia Vahamaki ;Submitted by: Duluth, MN Local 101

Honorable Mention: “Christmas Fire Safety” ; Newfoundland Broadcasting; Reported by: Toni Marie Wiseman; Submitted by: St. Johns, NF Local 1075

Honorable Mention: Research on the Health of Fire Fighters” ; CBC ; Reported by: Dr. Brian Goldman ; Submitted by: Ontario Prof. Fire Fighters, Ontario Canada



First PlaceBurn

Global Network
Reported by
: Global Newsteam 
Submitted by
: Toronto, Canada Local 3888

Honorable MentionEast Chicago Fire Kills One; WYIN-TV; Reported by: Carmen Segura; Submitted by: East Chicago, IN Local 365


First PlaceLos Angeles Firefighter

Editor: Jim Perry 
Submitted by
: Los Angeles City, CA Local 112

This is an excellent bi-monthly publication that fully involves fire fighters and their families in talking about the power and influence of a union and its membership. It gives a broad coverage of newsworthy articles related to fire fighters from the local area, as well as from across the International. The newspaper is well designed with compelling pictures, a soothing color scheme, and fine graphics.

Second PlaceThe Third Rail

Editor: Monica Rausch 
Submitted by:
 Seattle, WA Local 27

The Third Rail is an impressive monthly newsletter that works as the voice for union fire fighters. It highlights positive aspects of unionism and encourages active participation of union members to pursue their goals. The two-color magazine is well laid out with fine graphics and great images.

Honorable MentionFire Watch; Editor: Norman Eaton; Submitted by: Syracuse, NY Local 280

Honorable Mention: CPF Newspaper; Editor: Kristina Crawford ; Submitted by: California Prof. Fire fighters

Honorable MentionBurning IssuesEditor: Thomas H. Malone; Submitted by: Memphis, TN Local 1784

Honorable Mention: Jumpline; Editor: Stan Hills; Submitted by: Dade County, FL Local 1403


First Placewww.iaff2067.org

Producer: Tim McDermott
Submitted by
: Norman, OK Local 2067

The site focuses on union activities at the International and the local levels. The well-developed communication tool by Local 2067 to encourage fire fighters to join the union and motivates them to take interest in union related activities in their community. It promotes fire fighters safety issues and community service, and gives current and comprehensive news and information about the latest happenings in the IAFF and Local 2067.

Second Placewww.iaff1171.org 

Producer: Gary Niblock
Submitted by
 Santa Clara City, CA Local 1171

Second Placewww.cpf.org 

Producer: California Professional Fire Fighters 
Submitted by
: California Professional Fire Fighters, Sacramento, CA

Honorable Mentionwww.cpf4103.homestead.com Producer: Robert Butcher; Submitted by: Cary, NC Local 4103

Honorable Mention: www.kingstonfirefighters.org Producer: Steve Carroll; Submitted by: Kingston, Ont., Canada Local 498

Honorable Mentionwww.iaff27.org ; Producer: Monica Rausch; Submitted by: Seattle, WA Local 27


First Place: “2001 Fire College Day

Producer: Mark Sanders 
Submitted by
: Cincinnati, OH Local 48

This hands-on public relations campaign to educate media representatives, city leaders and citizens about the everyday work of professional fire fighters was an extremely powerful and invaluable program for Cincinnati Local 48. The project exposed city officials and the media to the dangers of a fire fighter’s work, its changing face, success through teamwork and unity in diversity. Cincinnati City Mayor Charlie Luken, other members of City Council and the media expressed their increased appreciation for fire fighters and their work after participating in the Fire College Day.

“Buddy System” was the highlight of the project under which each participant was paired with a Local 48 member who guided them through the task force assignment of fire and emergency rescue personnel in a realistic situation. Participants had to wear fire fighters gear and get the job done. Tasks included extrication, rapid intervention, hose advancement, fire extinguishment, and search and rescue using thermal imaging.

Second Place: “CDF Fire Fighters: We Are California’s Fire Department

Producer: Terence McHale 
Submitted by
: CDF Fire Fighters Sacramento, CA Local 2881

This multimedia project was a vigorous and an immediately successful campaign to identify and establish CDF Fire fighters as “California’s Fire Department.” The campaign effectively met its goal of educating legislators, media and the public about the critical role that CDF Fire Fighters play in keeping the State of California safe. The campaign was initiated with a logo design contest by CDF. The new logo was used to create posters, letterheads, bumper stickers, pins and t-shirts for statewide use.

Honorable Mention: “Nation’s First HazMat Team” ; Producer: Tom Francis and Rob Sorensen; Submitted by: Jacksonville, FL Local 122

Honorable Mention: “Memorial to FDNY” & “Fill-the-Boot For FDNY” ; Producer: Roxann and Dave Grzetich; Submitted by: Lockport, IL Local 1544

Honorable Mention: “Fire Showing 2002” ; Producer: Glen Ellman; Submitted by: Fort Worth, TX Local 440

Honorable Mention: “Safe Kids” ; Producer: Clair Dittmer; Submitted by: Wilmington, NC Local 129

Honorable Mention“New York 9-11 Fund Raiser” & “Christmas Heroes”: Producer: Rodney G. MacDonald and Renee Blackstone ; Submitted by: Vancouver, BC Canada Local 18

Honorable Mention: “New Members Packet” ; Producer: CPF; Submitted by: California Professional Fire Fighters

Honorable Mention“MDA Fill The Boot 2001” ; Producer: Steven Connally, Todd O’Neal, Jason Thurston and Garry Windley ; Submitted by: Norfolk, VA Local 68

Honorable Mention: “After The Fire “; Producer: Bryn Bailer (writer), Cheryl Graham (designer) ; Submitted by: Tucson, AZ Local 479


The IAFF Media Awards Contest recognizes and admires the commendable work of its 2,700 affiliates in effectively portraying the demanding work of professional fire fighters to the media and the world. Nonetheless, the unprecedented events of Sept. 11, 2001 brought media attention to the works and lives of fire fighters as never before. The extraordinary coverage of IAFF members in New York and elsewhere by the media has compelled the judges of this year’s contest to present special Judges’ Awards to the following organizations:


The New York Times
The New York Post
New York Daily News
New York News Day
The Washington Post

Television Stations:

WABC (New York)
WNBC (New York)
WCBS (New York)




WCBS (New York)
WINS (New York)