Deneen Harrell has been awarded the President's Volunteer Service Award for her outstanding commitment to serve the Beachton Volunteer Fire Department (BVFD) by participating in its Fire Corps program. Established under the White House Office of USA Freedom Corps, this award was created to recognize the valuable contributions volunteers make in our nation and to thank and honor Americans who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. Harrell's selfless contributions to department and community have earned her such recognition.

Harrell is a dedicated Fire Corps member, volunteering almost 170 hours from September 2006-April 2007 to support her local department. BVFD's Assistant Chief Sean Ruane noted, "Deneen does the work that we, the firefighters, either can't do or don't have the time to do. Her creativity, motivation, and perseverance have been very valuable to our department and to the county in general."

As wife and mother of two of BVFD's volunteer firefighters, Harrell saw an important need to devote her time and energy to help both the fire service and her community by coordinating the Beachton Volunteer Fire Corps (BVFC) program. Harrell registered the program with Fire Corps in November 2006, and through her commitment the program has helped support the department in a wide array of non-emergency activities. BVFC members assist the department with administrative duties, bookkeeping, grant writing, life safety education, website development, and much more.

Each month Harrell creates, produces, and distributes a newsletter to local businesses and residents with safety tips, a firefighter profile, statistics, and information on how community members can help or join the Fire Corps or fire department. This innovative publication is the first of its kind in her county.

Working closely with her community, Harrell has also helped recruit volunteers to work at Grady County's Tornado Donation center. She consistently raises money to improve the BVFD's station and equipment by gathering donations from local businesses, organizing fundraisers, and assisting with grant writing. These efforts have enabled the BVFD to increase the safety and efficiency of its station. In addition, Harrell performs administrative work for the department, recording member information for files and organizing and archiving historical data.

Harrell's tireless dedication has led her to take on many initiatives. She serves as the Fire Corps State Advocate for Georgia, acting as a local point of contact and resource for fire/EMS departments throughout the state who are establishing or implementing their own Fire Corps programs. She coordinates efforts through the Grady County Emergency Management Agency to keep track of the BVFD's National Incident Management System training records, helping the county develop a unified approach to incident management and standard command and management structures. Harrell is also a trained instructor for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), a sister program to Fire Corps, that prepares individuals to help themselves, their family, and their neighbors in the event of a disaster, with a focus on the first 72 hours.

Harrell's colleagues commend her hard work and dedication to the Fire Corps program. Chief Carl Smith, Fire Corps coordinator for the Thunderbolt (GA) Fire Department, said, "Deneen has shown tremendous leadership in helping develop and expand her department's Fire Corps program." Grady County Emergency Management Director, Jim Ellis, added, "We are indeed indebted to her unselfish, professional efforts."

For more information about the Beachton Volunteer Fire Corps program, please contact Deneen Harrell at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . If you would like to nominate a Fire Corps program or an individual Fire Corps member for the President's Volunteer Service Award, please email Fire Corps at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . This award is an easy way to recognize your outstanding volunteers for their exemplary dedication and to thank them for the time they have volunteered.

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