The Alaska Fire Chiefs Association awarded the Warren B. Cummings Chief Officer of the Year Award for the first time this year, in honor of a 43-year veteran of the Alaska Fire Service who passed away from cancer. (Photo courtesy Kenai Fire Department)

Kenai fire chief recognized for excellence

The first winner of an award recognizing the accomplishments of Alaska fire chiefs serves close to home.

Kenai Fire Chief Jeff Tucker received the 2017 Warren B. Cummings Chief Officer of the Year Award at the 2018 Alaska Fire Chiefs Association Leadership Summit held in Juneau last week. The award recognizes fire chiefs who follow in the footsteps of Cummings, a 43-year fire service veteran from the Fairbanks Fire Department who recently died of cancer, according to information provided by the Alaska Fire Chiefs Association.

During his tenure as fire chief, Cummings helped obtain federal and state grants that funded millions of dollars in capital improvement projects and served in lead roles in the Alaska Fire Chiefs Association, the Western Fire Chiefs Association and the Alaska Fire Standards Council.

Tucker got to know Cummings well during his time with the fire service.

“The loss to Alaska fire service was pretty tremendous,” Tucker said. “To be able to get the award the first time this award is given out — in his name, his honor — was pretty special to me.”

Tucker, who has been with the Kenai department for four years, began his Alaska career in 2002 at the North Pole Fire Station and worked at Soldotna’s Central Emergency Services before taking over at Kenai. He has taken on leadership roles in several firefighter associations, including serving as the vice president of the Western Fire Chiefs Association and two terms as president of the Alaska Fire Chiefs Association.

“My goal has always been to make sure that the fire service in Alaska succeeds,” Tucker said.

In choosing the award winner, the selection committee looked at candidates’ dedication to making operational improvements, including acquiring the latest technology and developing programs to improve safety. The committee also looked at the leadership roles candidates took on in the community, statewide and nationally, and their dedication to mentoring.

Fairbanks Fire Chief Jim Styers, who was part of the selection committee for the award, said Tucker was chosen not just for his leadership, but for his support for colleagues. He said he reaches out to Tucker when he needs help or guidance on an issue, such as navigating new technology.

“He’s very personable and always willing to help out,” Styers said. “He’s one of the guys you rely on.”

Reach Erin Thompson at erin.thompson@peninsulaclarion.com.

Kenai Fire Chief Jeff Tucker shows off the 2017 Warren B. Cummings Chief Officer of the Year Award at the Kenai Fire Station on Feb. 12. The award recognizes Tucker’s leadership success and contributions to the Alaska fire service. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

More in News

Daily school district COVID-19 risk levels: Aug. 3

Risk levels are based on COVID cases reported in a community and determine how schools will operate.

A fire crew can be seen here at a containment line for the Swan Lake Fire in this undated photo. (Courtesy Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management)
Fire crew’s departure highlights different wildfire season

With fire season winding down, state sends firefigthers south

Photos by Jeff Helminiak / Peninsula Clarion 
                                Part of a newly installed interagency public lands display at the Kenai Municipal Airport.
Kenai airport gets public lands display

The murals stretch from floor to ceiling in the ticketing area of the newly remodeled airport.

File
Seward extends emergency restrictions

Emergency ordinance 2020-009 was adopted unanimously by the city council on July 27.

COVID-19. (CDC)
State reports 1 new COVID death, no new peninsula cases

The person who died was an Anchorage man who was in his 70s.

Image via Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
Daily school district COVID-19 risk levels: Aug. 1

Risk levels are based on COVID cases reported in a community and determine how schools will operate.

Rep. Gary Knopp is seen in this undated photo. (Photo courtesy Jayme Jones)
Lawmakers remember colleague killed in crash

State Rep. Gary Knopp, who represented Kenai-Soldotna area, was one of seven people killed Friday.

COVID week in review: Cases climb; state reports new deaths

18 new hospitalizations and four deaths associated with COVID-19 were reported this week.

A screengrab of Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintedent John O’Brien announcing in a Thursday, July 30, 2020 video that masks will be required in school buildings this fall, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Schools to require masks, face coverings

Masks are now mandatory for all staff and students in third grade and higher.

Most Read