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Quotes from 2016 IAFC Scholarship Winners


"I want to say “Thank You” to the IAFC Scholarship Foundation for believing in me. Being awarded this scholarship has allowed me to pursue my educational goals. This is an honor for which I am truly grateful. "      

-Stephen Agenbroad 




“Professional development is crucial to the fire service, and the biggest factor in professional development is education. However, with today’s tough economic times, obtaining further education has become difficult for many. I am honored and greatly thank the IAFCF for giving me the opportunity to fuel my professional development and focus on success towards a Bachelor’s degree in Fire Investigation and help improve fire service delivery.”

- John Aniello


“I would like to thank you for the privilege of receiving this scholarship.  I am very excited about the opportunity to receive the scholarship from the International Association of Fire Chiefs.   For me this means recognition for the hard work put in in gaining the knowledge and degree.  This scholarship will allow me to finish the classes toward my degree.  ” - John Bostwick


“Earning a bachelor’s degree has been a goal of mine for a long time.  This scholarship allows me to earn a bachelor’s degree which will better prepare me as I continue to progress in the role of assistant chief. ” - Richard Campbell




“Not only has this scholarship helped pay my tuition, it has given me a much needed mental boost as well.  I am midway through my program and have already been using what I have learned in my current position in my department.  Using business analytics, we have a better understanding of what our call volume and revenue numbers are doing compared to previous years and we have seen where we can improve our collection rate for ambulance transports.  Knowing that my chiefs had the confidence in me to recommend me and now the IAFC honoring me with a scholarship has bolstered my drive to continue my education. I cannot thank you enough.”

- Jill Chapman

“It’s an honor to receive this scholarship from the International Fire Chiefs Association. This scholarship will help me further my education. In moving forward with my education it will not only benefit me but will also benefit my co-workers and residents within my fire district. I plan to use this scholarship to complete my bachelor’s degree.”

-  Frank Chojnacki



“The IAFC Foundation Educational Scholarship has provided me with the support to continue my efforts in giving back to the profession through education.  My focus is to seek out, exemplify service, and develop new innovative ways to enhance today’s Fire Service.  Professional education and the support of foundations, such as the IAFC Foundation Education Scholarship, continue to set the example in leadership and guidance to help provide needed assistance in perusing the mission and vision of this great service.  My family and I are grateful for the foundation and all that you have done to support us in education.  This scholarship helps to eliminate a great burden amongst my family whom has struggled with personal illness of a child, and helps to advance the education and career of a dedicated, life-long firefighter.” - Scott Cranford

“Success is accomplished by those who put forth the effort toward their goals without giving up. This scholarship represents that hard work and determination for success. It represents the endless support from my family, my friends, my peers, and my mentors. The IAFC has given me the ability to accomplish my educational goals with this scholarship and afforded me the opportunity to finish my Bachelors program at my desired time next Fall. This scholarship allows me to further my education and be more of an asset to my crew and department. It also awards me valuable time with my family that could never be expressed by words. ” - Stephen Davis


“I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say because of you I didn't give up.” - Thomas Eckert






“This scholarship stands for more than just money to go towards a tuition bill at the end of each semester; it stands for an opportunity to make a positive, lasting impact on the fire service community and my future as a fire safety professional.” - Ashley Evans




“I firmly believe that education is the foundation to successful leadership.   I hope to teach at the University level in the near future in order to pass on the lessons I have learned. The IAFC scholarship has allowed me the opportunity to continue the pursuit of my Master’s Degree at Eastern Kentucky University and I am forever grateful.”

- William Freeman


"I would like to thank you for awarding me with the 2016 IAFC Foundation Scholarship! Being awarded the 2016 Chief Charles A. ‘Chet’ Henry Scholarship Award has helped take some of the financial burden of attending school with a newborn at home. This award has given me the chance to take an extra class for the year and advance my fire service education. I’m honored to being the recipient of the Charles A. ‘Chet’ Henry Scholarship." - Kirsten Gabbard


“I would like to thank the IAFC Foundation for their generosity in assisting me achieve my goal of completing my Master’s Degree in Public Administration.  This scholarship will help lessen the financial hurdles in front of my family as I work to improve my knowledge base and apply it to the ever challenging world of the fire service.  Thank you.” - Nathan Gac


“It is an overwhelming honor to be a recipient of the 2016 IAFC Foundation Educational Scholarship. With this scholarship, I will be able to build the educational foundation necessary to further advance my professional career. I am excited for the opportunities moving forward, and continue to pursue my goal of receiving my bachelor's degree. It is a great benefit that IAFC Foundation recognizes the wants and need of the constantly evolving fire service and assists us in meeting the needs of the communities we serve.” - Steven Gantner

“I believe that as leaders we must strive to educate ourselves in order to provide successful outcomes to the new challenges we face. I was encouraged early to set a path for improvement. As a member of the IAFC I am pleased to be selected by the Foundation to receive this scholarship to assist in my continued professional growth.” - Allen Geeser



“I am pleased, and honored to be a recipient of the 2016 Educational Scholarship Award from the International Association of Fire Chief’s foundation.  A partnership formed between the IAFCF, Clackamas Fire District #1, and I as a result of this award.  I plan to represent the foundation, and Clackamas Fire District #1 to the best of my ability moving forward.  It is through partnerships like these and the promotion of higher education by the IAFCF, that we can leave the fire service better than we found it.  With this support, I will champion improved mental health of first responders, thus empowering them to serve communities at their best!   Thank you, to each and every person who contributed to this process.  Please pass on my heartfelt appreciation for the foundation’s support in my endeavor..” - Joshua Gehrke

“This scholarship will help me pursue my goals, combining both mental health and the emergency services.  As post traumatic stress disorder becomes better understood, it has become more apparent what a prolific effect it has on the daily lives of first responders.  With the knowledge I will gain from my program I hope to better serve the first responder community and gain the skills necessary to help those suffering from PTSD." - Kaija Griffiths


“This scholarship will allow me to finish what I started 19 years ago and to continue my grown in the fire service. I am currently working toward a degree in Emergency Management with the ultimate goal of becoming an Emergency Manager. This scholarship will allow me to work less overtime to pay for school and really focus on my studies. Thank you for this opportunity." - Jason Gurian


“The receipt of this scholarship, courtesy of the IAFC, assists me in my personal drive toward enhancing my role within the fire service. The education I am receiving will allow for a heightened capability of critical thinking and hopefully in my own way, I can help further the progression of the fire service industry as a whole. This initiative by the IAFC confirms the presence of universality and solidarity within our profession which at times can seem to be a thing of the past." - Shane Hall


“I would like to thank the IAFC organization for this grant to help offset the costs of my masters degree. I have in the past been able to utilize the City re-imbursment process however with the financial climate constantly in decline I have been on my own for the financial cost. I am a US Navy Reservist who completed a 13month tour in Afghanistan. As such I qualify for the post 911 GI Bill which covers 60%. The IAFC Grant will be a tremendous help to provide relief of the high bills on my masters degree program. I will utilize the money to pay some of the bills incurred from the school. Thanks again for all your support." - Brian Harbison


"I would just like to express my gratitude to the foundation for awarding me the scholarship funds.  With these funds I will be able to complete another course in the pursuit of my Master's degree, which will hopefully help me attain the position of a chief officer in the near future.  Thank you again for choosing me to receive this award." -James Harding 



“Receiving an IAFC Foundation Scholarship is a tremendous honor. By showing financial support for future fire service leaders, the IAFC is continuing to make an important investment in those who strive to make a difference for their departments and communities. My family and I believe a continuing education is worth the sacrifices made for advancement.”- Clinton Hays






“The scholarship I received represents the hard work I have been putting into my firefighting career and my education. Volunteering in the fire service while being a student is difficult, but this generous donation lets me know I am on the right path and I need to continue working hard to achieve my goals. By helping me to afford school, this scholarship has allowed me to focus more time on my studies because I no longer need to look for a part-time job to assist with my financial burdens. I feel blessed and am extremely greatful.” - Peter Johnson


“The IAFC foundation scholarship is a true game changer. This money will go towards continuing my education and advancement in my field. Knowledge is power, and in a way, the IAFC and scholarships they provide give power to future leaders to obtain goals and make better decisions. Thank you. I am proud to be an IAFC member and honored to receive a scholarship.” - James Johnston



“Receiving the 2016 Educational Scholarship Award from the International Association of Fire Chiefs Foundation will greatly assist me in completing by degree in Fire and Safety Engineering from the University of Cincinnati.  This degree will aid me in becoming a better leader in the fire service and assist me in moving my agency forward in the fire service; while providing a better service to the community we serve.” - Jason Krusen


“Receiving this scholarship is a big honor for me. Having this award will allow me to pay for school and further myself for a career as a firefighter paramedic. I hope to be able to make a difference in the lives of many people.” -  Jonathan Kuo



“This scholarship has allowed me to be one step closer to my goal of achieving my Bachelors Degree in Fire Administration. I am truly thankful to the IAFC for choosing me for this great opportunity.” -  Anthony LaFemina



“It is an honor to be recognized as a scholarship recipient. I would like to thank the International Association of Fire Chiefs Board of Directors for their generosity and my colleagues for their ongoing support. Education is the backbone of the fire service and I am grateful to be afforded the opportunity to pursue my master's degree. Thank you again.” - Melanie Levine


“This Scholarship will allow me to pursue the career of my dreams, which is much more than 2 years of college. It is endless years of doing what I love. It is recognition of the hard work I have already put in towards an exciting career." - Austin Leggett



“I would like to say thank you for selecting me for the 2016 IAFC Educational Scholarship. With the high costs of schooling and the increased demand from the fire service to have more education and training, this Scholarship will assist me in my goals of obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Public Safety and Emergency Management. The future schooling I receive will better my department, my community, myself, and my family." - Scott Leudeman


“Receiving this scholarship has provided me the opportunity to take additional college classes to further my aspirations of earning a degree in fire science and ultimately a career in the fire service. This award has a great deal of meaning to me as I feel honored to have been selected to receive this scholarship from the International Association of Fire Chiefs. I hope to one day, in my career as a fireman, to become a Fire Chief and the education that this scholarship has helped facilitate, will help prepare me for that role.” - Mark Liepins


“I am deeply honored and grateful to be selected as the recipient of the 2016 Heather Westphal Memorial Scholarship Award from the International Association of Fire Chiefs Foundation. The assistance of this scholarship will help me complete my education in GIS and utilize my knowledge to assist my current department both in improving the current status of the mapping system (ultimately improving the overall response to the community) and aid in statistical analysis to help the department save costs and function more efficiently. I will do my best to represent my department and this organization with pride and dignity.” - Michele Macauley


“Thank you so much for this. I have been trying for so many years to get this done and get some help to finish this. My degree from Western Carolina University in Emergency & Disaster Management will help me in my career as Fire Marshal for the City of Rocky Mount. My next step in our organization will be into a Division Chiefs position. That position is also our city's Emergency Management Coordinator. I am also involved in the States Emergency Management Division as a Incident Management Team member.  Having this scholarship will help me to be able to complete my degree and have the knowledge to be the best I can be for the citizens of North Carolina and specifically Rocky Mount NC.” - Mark Rogerson

“I am so very excited and pleased, to have received the Garry L. Briese Scholarship Award from the IAFC Foundation. The scholarship has been granted, at a critical juncture of my graduate studies and will allow me to return promptly to Columbia Southern University. I am not sure when I would have been able to return without this support. As a lifelong learner, I know that my studies in Emergency Services Management will enhance my cognitive skills and will support my efforts to serve my community as well as others in public safety. I feel very fortunate that students like me have the support of the IAFC Foundation and organizations such as Motorola Solutions Foundation.” -David Saitta


"Being awarded this scholarship has allowed me to complete my degree program in an acceptable time frame. I would like to thank the sponsors and the IAFC Foundation for not only investing in me, but in the future of our fire service. Higher education is allowing us to meet the demands placed upon us as we increase levels of service to meet the needs of those we serve." - Patrick Shipp



“I was very happy, appreciative and honored to learn that I was selected as one of the recipients of the IAFC Foundation Educational Scholarship. Receiving this scholarship will allow me to focus more on my course work and less on financial obligations. I am grateful for the generosity the committee has shown me by selecting me. This scholarship is important to me because it will allow me to complete the courses necessary to earn my Bachelor’s degree in Fire Science. Obtaining this degree is required as part of the chief’s promotional process within my department. My plans for the future are to be a part that process and advance through the ranks in my department. Again, I thank you for selecting me for this scholarship.” - Shannon Teamer


"I want to thank the International Association of Fire Chiefs Foundation for their recognition and support of higher education in today's modern fire service. Your scholarship is assisting me reach my educational goals of obtaining a BS in Fire Administration." - Russel Thompson




“Receiving this scholarship won’t only affect the outcome of finishing my degree; it will directly affect the members of my department and mostly affect the citizen we protect by allowing our department as a whole become more educated and well-rounded. I am honored to accept this generous gift.” - Kevin Uthe



“I am so excited to be chosen as a recipient for an IAFC Foundation Scholarship.  This scholarship is a blessing to me and my family by reducing the financial burden of continuing to complete my degree.  I am thankful to the donors that make the scholarships possible through their support.  This award will help me attain my educational goals that when matched with my experience will greatly enhance my ability to complete the mission of our fire department..” - Damion Vaughan


“In a time where tuition assistance is decreasing and educational requirements are increasing, it is reassuring that professional organizations such as the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) is aggressive in offering assistance to those working class members in search of higher education. With the support of my fire rescue department and the financial assistance offered through the IAFC, I will be able to reach my educational aspirations as well as strengthen my leadership abilities, my administrative skill set, and my marketability for future promotional opportunities". - Wayne Watson