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)

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)

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

Assembly President Brent Johnson asks questions of representatives of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District during a joint work session of the School Board and Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 2, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough to enter contract for asbestos flooring abatement in 3 central peninsula schools

The work will be done at Kenai Central High, Kenai Alternative High and Sterling Elementary schools

Alaska State Troopers logo.
1 dead, 3 missing after boat capsizes near Seward

Alaska State Troopers were notified by the U.S. Coast Guard of an overturned vessel around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday

Kenai Central High School stands under clear skies in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 23, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough approves contract for KCHS parking lot rehabilitation

Soldotna-based Foster Construction will be awarded the bid of $648,997 to complete the project

Central Peninsula Hospital is seen in Soldotna on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Central Peninsula Hospital to host Cancer Survivor’s Day event

The event will take place Sunday, June 2 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks to the joint Soldotna and Kenai chambers of commerce at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Wednesday.
Carpenter gives wrap up on session as he nears end of House term

Carpenter is seeking election to state Senate District D

(from left to right) Jachin Sanchez, Carter Lemons, Rowan Mahoney, Adelyn McCorison and Taylor Rickard graduated from Ninilchik School on Monday, May 13, 2024 in Ninilchik, Alaska. Photo provided by Mattea Peters-Williamson
Ninilchik graduates 5 in 2024 commencement

The school held the ceremony Monday, May 13

Kenai Peninsula Education Association President LaDawn Druce, left, and committee Chair Jason Tauriainen participate in the first meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s Four Day School Week Ad Hoc Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
4-day school week committee adjourns

The committee will deliver recommendations to school board in July

Soldotna Elementary School Principal Dr. Austin Stevenson points out corroded insulation outside of the school building on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 in Soldotna . (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna Elementary awaits action on approved bond

Almost two years after public OKs bond, borough asking for more time

Most Read