By David M. Higgins II, Publisher

Tony Norris, 2020 MFSA Firefighter of the YEar

Virtual- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the 128th Annual Maryland State Firefighters Association(MSFA) Convention and Conference was and will be held in two parts. Phase 1 will include Nominations, Elections, and Administering the Oath of Office in a video format, and the 2020 Memorial Service and Fire Prevention Queen Contest will be provided virtually. All award winners will be announced at this time and presentations of trophies will occur in Phase 2 of the program.

Phase 2 is planned for late summer once social distancing requirements are relaxed. This phase will involve two days of activities to include ceremonial aspects of the convention, including the 11 Special Memorial Tributes that will need to be honored, business meetings for the LAMSFA and the MSFA, and a Presidential Reception to recognize our outgoing and newly elected officers.

With the virtual convention starting this week, members have been involved with virtual sessions. On June 24, 2020, the MSFA Award Winners 128th Annual Convention and Conference were announced.

This year, Tony Norris of the Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department took home top honors as the MFSA Firefighter of the Year. Since it’s inception in 1978, a Southern Maryland volunteer Firefighter has won the award twelve(12) times. Hollywood VFD has had three(3) past Firefighter of the Year award winner in Eddie Tatum(2017), Christopher Scully(2008), and William Hill Jr(2005). From the MFSA website: The Firefighter of the Year Award is judged on what the nominee has done during the calendar year preceding the Annual MSFA Convention. Some examples of what the award is judged on are: outstanding citizenship (i.e., activities that would better his/her fire department and community), lecturing at schools on fire safety, setting up programs for fire inspections, fundraising, etc.

Danny Morrison, North Beach Volunteer Fire Department, was awarded the Colburn Trophy. The Colburn Trophy is awarded for an extreme act of heroism. A Calvert Firefighter has won this award two other times, both in 2007(Michael Nasti & Brian Thrasher)

Francis Raley, Ridge Volunteer Fire Department was awarded the Smith N. Stathem, Jr., P.P., Memorial Safety Award. The Smith N. Stathem, Jr. Memorial Safety Award was established in 1998 by the MSFA Safety Committee and the family of MSFA Past President Stathem. This award to an individual who does the most to promote firefighter/EMS safety within his/her department/company. 

Jeb G. Hayden, of 7th District VFD was awarded the Past President C. Oscar Baker Rookie of the Year.

From the Hollywood VFD Facebook Page:

The Officers and Members are proud to announce the winner of the State Firefighter of the Year is Engineer Tony Norris. Tony has served in several positions within the Department including Lieutenant, Captain, and currently as Engineer. Tony handles any day to day maintenance issues from Apparatus to the Station. Their is absolutely nothing Tony can’t do and he is always willing to lend a hand to help others. Tony is an asset to our Department and to the Community. We are proud to call him a Member of this Department as this award is truly deserved.

Hollywood VFD Facebook page

Full List of Honorees and Award Winner:

Hall of Fame:

1 – Phillip R. Cooper Ridge VFD, St. Mary’s

2 – Leon Fleming, Sr. Hampstead, Carroll

3 – Angelo A. Floria Ocean City, Worcester

4 – Kenneth J. Scully Leonardtown VFD, St. Mary’s

5 – Paul W. McGinnis Glen Burnie, Anne Arundel

6 – Malden Burnell Miller, Jr. Pleasant Valley, Carroll

7 – Monica Anne Penhollow North East, Cecil

8 – Thomas G. Schaech Bel Air, Harford

9 – Christopher Tona, Sr. United Communities, Queen Anne’s

10 – Darlene Vocke Norrisville, Harford

11 – Bruce Walz Mount Airy, Carroll

Colburn Trophy– Danny Morrison, North Beach, Calvert

Gladhill-Thompson Award– John Denver, P.P., Singerly Cecil

Marbery F. Gates Service Cup Award–Johnie F. Roth, Jr. Sandy Spring

Silver Spring Award –Cynthia Wright-Johnson – MIEMSS-EMS for Children

Firefighter of the Year–Anthony “Tony” Norris, Hollywood VFD, St. Mary’s

Robert H. Shimer, Administrator of the Year–Charles J. Simpson Jr., Pleasant Valley,Carroll

Smith N. Stathem, Jr., P.P., Memorial Safety Award–Francis Raley, Ridge VFD, St. Mary’s

Edward L. Emkey, Sr., Cadet Program Award–Upperco VFC, Baltimore

Josiah A. Hunt, M.D., EMS Person of the Year – Dr. Sean Berenholtz, Pikesville VFD, Baltimore

John E. “Sunny” Rose, Jr. Memorial Award– Sean McKeever, Odenton VFC, Anne Arundel County

Past President C. Oscar Baker Rookie of the Year – Jeb G. Hayden, – 7th District VFD St. Mary’s

Francis Brannagan Instructor of the Year– Diane May

MFRI Student of the Year– Armond J.Collins, Baltimore Pike VFC., Allegany County

Family Appreciation Award – Sanger Family, Odenton VFC, Anne Arundel Randy, Toni, Faith, Adriana and Luke


David M. Higgins II

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...