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Keeping you informed of what's new with the LFD.


On Friday, July 25, 2014, the Lakeland Fire Department promoted four Firefighters to Driver Engineers in a joint ceremony held at Station 1. The ceremony marks a major career transition for the selected firefighters.

The very well-attended ceremony was standing room only as family, friends, colleagues, and well-wishers filled the room. Guests included several City of Lakeland Commissioners, City management members, and representatives from other city departments like Lakeland Electric. 

Promoted were James Stovall, Luis Hernandez, Matt Burns, and Zac Duncan.

James Stovall has been with the Lakeland Fire Department as a firefighter since 2002, but has served with the City of Lakeland since 1995 having worked with Lakeland Electric prior to his transition to the fire service. The Lakeland native, born and raised, is a graduate of Lake Gibson High School. An avid athlete, James went on to attend and play baseball for Polk State College where he received his associate’s degree. Prior to the fire service he served in several different capacities but always in a role where he could help the public and serve others. He has served with the Polk County School Board where he coached high school baseball.  He went on to perform field services for Lakeland Electric and attended fire standards and pursued his EMT certification while working with the City of Lakeland. He achieved his lifelong goal of becoming a firefighter in 2002 when he joined the Lakeland Fire Department.  He has served as firefighter since, prior to his promotion to Driver Engineer. He is also a valued member of the Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) team.

Luis Hernandez began his career as a firefighter with the Lakeland Fire Department in 2004 having only served with LFD since. The Chicago, Illinois native moved to Lakeland in 1990 and is a graduate of Kathleen High School. After graduation he attended Hillsborough Community College (HCC) where he obtained his EMT certification and completed Fire Standards. In an interesting connection, LFD’s Lt. Jim Thompson was one of Luis’ instructors at HCC and helped influence Luis in joining the department.  Since having joined LFD, Luis has gone on to obtain his paramedic certification at Florida Medical Training Institute and is currently pursuing his associate’s degree in nursing to become a registered nurse.  A well trained and seasoned medical professional with the department, Luis has also been awarded repeated Firefighter of the Year awards for his heroism in the field. 

Matt Burns has been part of the Lakeland Fire Department as a firefighter since October 2004. A Lakeland native, Matt graduated from George Jenkins High School in 1999. After graduation he attended Ridge Career Center where he completed Fire Standards and received his EMT certification in 2004. Since having joined LFD, Matt pursued and obtained his Paramedic Certification in 2005.

Zac Duncan has been part of the Lakeland Fire Department as a firefighter since October 2004. He has served in that capacity since then, prior to his current promotion to Driver Engineer.  Zac, a driven professional who values professional advancement, is a graduate of Polk State College from which he received his paramedic certification in 2008. He is also a member of the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team at the department. 

Being a Driver Engineer comes with immense responsibility and four promoted will most definitely be able to live up to that responsibility based on their career thus far with LFD.

Big congratulations to all four new Driver Engineers! 

Check out photos from the ceremony here. 

 

 


On Wednesday, November 13, 2013 Firefighter Steven Connors was promoted to Driver Engineer.

Steve Connors has been an integral part of the LFD since March 29, 2010. Steve understands the importance of duty and service to country very well, having joined the United States Army at the young age of 17 where he went on to serve with the 1st Ranger Battalion and 82nd Airborne Division prior to joining the LFD. 

Connors, a Ruskin, Florida native is an avid outdoorsman having spent his childhood fishing and hunting along this great state’s creeks and rivers. He proudly uses that experience and skill to his advantage at the annual Fire Olympics with repeated attempts to dethrone Gilman, Herndon and Brannen. 

He is an East Bay High School graduate and has since gone on to receive his Associate of Arts degree from Hillsborough Community College and holds certification in law enforcement, fire standards, and is a paramedic. Steve credits his ability to have become a Driver Engineer to the training and support of his crew and all of his family at the LFD. Steve notes that he will deeply miss his brothers and sisters on B shift due the move from this new opportunity but looks forward to the day he can work closely with them again.

Congratulations to Steven Connors and sincere thanks for his dedicated service. 



 



 


On Wednesday, September 4, 2013 long time veteran of the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD), Wayne Epperson, was promoted to the officer position of Battalion Chief.   

 Bat. Chief Epperson was joined by family, friends, colleagues, and an extended network of City of Lakeland representatives, including Mayor Gow Fields, to celebrate his professional advancement.

Wayne began his career with the LFD in 1985 and served as a firefighter, fire instructor, driver-engineer, and lieutenant, having held the latter position for 17 years. Speakers at the ceremony including Fire Chief Gary Ballard, Assistant Chief Rick Hartzog, Bat. Chief Mike Williams, and Bat. Chief Jeff Wharton all concurred that Bat. Chief Epperson is one of the most honest, dedicated, and deserving individuals they know within the organization. Wayne has been heavily involved with training efforts throughout his career and through his many years of experience and leadership will undoubtedly further elevate the position.

 A big congratulations to Wayne Epperson and sincere thanks to him for the many years of dedicated service he has provided the people of Lakeland.