Alliance Fire Chief Troy Shoemaker read from this year’s nomination Friday night before announcing Joni Sautter as the Alliance Volunteer Fire Department 2019 Boss of the Year.

An all-volunteer fire department, with the exception of Shoemaker, Assistant Chief Brad Schrum and paid shift firefighters/EMTs, the AVFD hosts an annual Bosses Night and Honorary Membership Drive. The evening honors employers who allow staff to serve, naming one nominated individual “Boss of the Year.” Yearly recognition also goes to the firefighters themselves through annual awards and occasional special recognition. At the Feb. 1 dinner Shoemaker announced Travis Lurz as Veteran of the Year and David Meggison, club chaplain, Rookie of the Year.

Though fire calls bring volunteers to the downtown fire station, emergency calls often average more than one a day on any given year. Sautter, BSN RN, CRHCP is Box Butte General Hospital’s GNMSS Clinic manager — well acquainted with EMS volunteers working at the hospital and from the larger community.

Married to Michael Sautter (Dietrich & Sautter CPAS, PC), the family attended Bosses Night. Sautter came up to accept the plaque holding her daughter.

While at BBGH Sautter has also been recognized by the county-owned facility. She was named 2013 BBGH Employee of the Year, then serving as Swing Bed coordinator. About a year ago Sautter passed the exam to become a Certified Rural Health Professional. This year she is a member of the NHA Leadership Institute 2019 Class XVI.

Employers joined firefighters and their families as well as members of the public in packing the east bay of the fire hall for Bosses Night. Shoemaker said the attendance was the best he’s seen in years. The kitchen crew spent more than an hour preparing a feast highlighted by pounds of tender Rocky Mountain oysters. Firefighters last active decades ago stepped into the serving line alongside the current generation of community servants.

Shoemaker was Rookie of the Year early in his tenure as Alliance chief. The AVFD active roster shifts from year to year with volunteer recruitment ongoing. For information on becoming a volunteer firefighter or emergency medical technician (EMT) contact the fire department at 762-2151.

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