other previous winners

other pother pre

Recently many of us were fascinated watching the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.    We watched many individuals take their place on the winners platform, and we were amazed at their stories of dedication, commitment, bravery, sometimes defeat, and ultimately success. 

We admired stories of athletes who have dedicated their lives to prepare for a truly triumphant moment, which happen not because of the brief moment it takes to win a competition, but because of the years it  takes to train for that special moment.

Only training can equip the rescuer with the mental tools that enable methodical, careful analysis of the scene to override rash actions. Only training can equip the firefighter with the knowledge to take full advantage of the life-saving monitors and equipment available to them. And only training can provide the rescuer the patience necessary to remember that the conditions that overcame the victim can, and will, overcome the rescuer without diligent attention to life safety.

The natural inclination of any rescuer is to leap into action, understandably anxious to move as quickly as possible to save those in distress. The immeasurable value of training is that, through time and practice, the natural inclination to act will be supplanted by the necessary process of rational consideration.

Firefighters often find themselves in situations where life and death decisions must be made in a matter of seconds. We often hear about a heroic just-in-time rescue, and rarely about the lifetime of setbacks, preparation and training.  Fire professionals train for the unexpected hoping they will never be in a crisis where they need the special education.  They practice procedures and step-by-step activities until their bodies and minds can go through it without struggle. 

Often, in an instant, firefighters find them self in a life threatening crisis! 

The 2004 United Fire Firefighter of the Year Paul Evancho with the Yuma Fire Department provided us with an excellent example of just how important firefighter training is. Every minute of Paulís 12 years of training and experience in the field was put to the test on April 2 of this year.

Off duty, he found himself in front of a horrific motor vehicle accident in an isolated rural location just east of Gila Bend.  Without professional fire service training, any other person would have been overcome with panic and fear

This was a head-on collision between a Suburban and a Pick Up pulling a U-HAUL trailer.  Steam and fluid from the engines of the vehicles covered the ground amongst a mass of twisted metal.  Evancho immediately sprang into action and began assessing the situation. He quickly determined that there were six level one traumaís and activated the 911 system requesting helicopters and ambulances.


Alone on the scene he triaged the victims, and determined the most viable patient was the passenger of the pick-up. As he attempted to access her grossly contorted body pinned under the dash, the victim with massive facial trauma, multiple fractures and internal injuries regained consciousness. Paul was trying to comfort her and check vitals when the truck suddenly burst into flames, and he, with little regard to his own safety, successfully extinguished the fire with one extinguisher from his own vehicle and another from a Maricopa Deputy that had arrived on the scene just in time.


After Rescue crews arrived, Paul continued to assist by driving the ambulance to the landing zone, and loaded a patient.  He then returned to the scene to help with the extrications of the other victims.


Paul was able to use his quick thinking and life-saving skills to rescue one survivor from a brutal wreck that ultimately killed 5 others.  His display of dedication, courage, and bravery is a tribute to himself, his training and the firefighter profession. He is a firefighter that truly cares.


In 1996 Paul established a Foundation for Burned Children in Southwest Arizona. He also is the liaison for the families and the Maricopa Burn Center. Paul sits on the core committee of the Arizona Childrenís Burn Camp and tirelessly tends to these children and their families in excess of 800 volunteer hours a year! Also involved in many other local charities, it is no wonder that Paul Evancho was selected to be the 2004 Arizona Firefighter of the Year.


Heather Moore (Girlfriend)          Retired Detroit Firefighter Charlie Evancho (Paul's Dad)
 Paul Evancho - 2004 Firefighter of the Year (Center)