Big Bear Elks Lodge held its annual Firefighters Appreciation Dinner

Jan. 15, honoring the department and two of its firefighters.

Fire Department engineer/paramedic Jon Bidwell was named Firefighter of the Year and firefighter/paramedic John Stein was recognized as Rookie of the Year.

The annual Firefighters Appreciation Dinner invitees include Fire Department personnel and retirees at the celebration each year. Firefighter of the Year is presented to a firefighter who exemplifies the positive characteristics of a member of the fire service with a notable record of service and achievements. This award is presented to an individual who has given selflessly of themselves in support of the Fire Department, the fire service and the community in general.

Bidwell has been with the Fire Department for more than 10 years. “This year’s Firefighter of the Year has demonstrated a high level of dedication to this organization going above and beyond, giving of himself to this organization and our community,” said Big Bear Fire Chief Jeff Willis of Bidwell. This is the first time Bidwell has earned the award.

Rookie of the Year is presented to the rookie firefighter who best exemplifies the positive characteristics of a new member of the fire service. Stein has been with Big Bear Fire Department for 18 months.

“He is an asset to this agency and this Valley,” Willis said of Stein. “We look forward to seeing what else he has to offer.”

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