Two Loudoun first responders were among honorees from across Virginia that received awards at an official ceremony on Wednesday, February 22, 2023.
Governor Glenn Youngkin announced the recipients of the 2022 Governor’s Fire Service Awards as part of the annual Virginia Fire Chiefs Association Expo and Symposium in Virginia Beach. Established in 2002, the Governor’s Fire Service Awards honor excellence in Virginia’s fire service and are facilitated by the Virginia Department of Fire Programs in collaboration with the Virginia Fire Services Board.
Meaghan Gruber, a Firefighter/EMT from Loudoun County Fire and Rescue (LCFR) was awarded “Firefighter of the Year” for her heroic actions during a house fire in which a teenager and a fellow firefighter were rescued. In March 2022, Meaghan responded with others to a house fire in Purcellville where her quick search located a 15-year-old girl in a 2nd floor bedroom and seamlessly coordinated the rescue with her team. Firefighter Gruber has also received recognition with awards such as LCFR’s Walking Heart for successful resuscitation. She always seeks to positively impact those around her, both in the community and in her fire and rescue family. Outside of shift work, Gruber routinely volunteers to help train LCFR’s career and volunteer recruits and has a passion for helping others develop their careers in the fire service.
System Chief Keith Johnson of the Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System (LC-CFRS) was awarded the Virginia Fire Chief’s Association’s Glenn A. Gaines Leadership Legacy Award. The Glenn A. Gaines Leadership Legacy Award was established to recognize an individual who exemplifies the ability, character, and dedication to excellence and displays leadership attributes portrayed by Fire Chief Glenn A. Gaines. Prior to his passing in April 2015, Chief Gaines was the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator for the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). Chief Gaines began his fire service career as a member of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department in Virginia, later serving as Fire Chief from August 1991 until December 1998. This annual award named in his honor recognizes an individual for superior leadership and actions that have elevated the fire service profession within the Commonwealth of Virginia through mentoring, teaching, and sharing outstanding contributions. This award highlights Chief Johnson’s many contributions to the fire service in Virginia and a legacy that invokes innovation, pride and compassion in his duties as Fire Chief and as an outspoken advocate for the health and safety of citizens and first responders.