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State Fire Marshal’s Office Announces 2014 Poster Contest Winners and Public Fire Educator of the Year

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 | 07:29am

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) is recognizing the statewide winners of the 2014 Fire Prevention Poster Contest and the 2014 Public Fire Educator of the Year. The winners will be honored at an awards event on Sat., Jan. 31, 2015 at the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy in Bell Buckle, Tenn.

The poster contest is a longstanding annual event used by the SFMO to highlight and promote fire safety awareness throughout Tennessee schools. This year’s poster contest theme was “Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month” and it corresponded with the National Fire Protection Association’s Fire Prevention Week campaign. This year’s theme was especially pertinent as 70% of fatal fires in Tennessee last year occurred in homes with no smoke alarm or no working smoke alarm.

“Programs like this are a fun and effective way to get students educated about fire safety,” said Commissioner of Commerce and Insurance and State Fire Marshal Julie Mix McPeak. “The safety lessons they learn from working on these projects are often spread to their parents and siblings.”

Starting in August, students from across the state in kindergarten through 12th grade began creating posters to illustrate the importance of working smoke alarms. Local fire departments sponsored the contest in schools from their districts and judged a winner from each grade. The local winners were then sent to the SFMO in Nashville for final judging. The SFMO received 280 poster entries this year from 103 different schools. The winners were selected by a panel of experts who generously volunteered their time: James Wells of the Tennessee Arts Commission; Gary Tisdale of Midtown Gallery; and Shaun Giles of the Frist Center for the Visual Arts.

The statewide winners are:

Special Needs Division I (K – 5th)   

Zachary Sonnen       

Dyersburg Intermediate School         

Sponsor: Dyersburg Fire Department



Olivia Bynum 

Malesus Elementary School  

Sponsor: Jackson Fire Department


Special Needs Division II (6th – 12th)          

Holly Tinsley  

Bartlett High School   

Sponsor: Bartlett Fire Department


1st Grade       

Emily Williams           

Pleasant View Elementary School    

Sponsor: Pleasant View Vol. Fire Department


2nd Grade      

Jordan Lewin 

Crosswind Elementary School

Sponsor: Collierville Fire & Rescue


4th Grade       

Cade Glisson 

Catlettsburg Elementary School        

Sponsor: Sevierville Fire Department


6th Grade       

Cole Waycaster

Collierville Middle School       

Sponsor: Collierville Fire & Rescue


8th Grade       

Cody Hodge

Cascade Middle School

Sponsor: Bell Buckle Vol. Fire Department   


10th Grade
Tate Hill
Arlington High School
Sponsor: Arlington Fire Department


12th Grade
Hayley Boggs
Boyd-Buchanan School
Sponsor: Chattanooga Fire Department



3rd Grade       

Mason Booker

Allen Elementary School       

Sponsor: Soddy Daisy Fire Department


5th Grade

Mason Clifton

The Discovery School           

Sponsor: Dickson Fire Department


7th Grade

Jamey Ryan

Collierville Middle School       

Sponsor: Collierville Fire & Rescue


9th Grade

Elizabeth Hoilmen

Boyd-Buchanan School

Sponsor: Chattanooga Fire Department


11th Grade
Brandon Yontz

New Directions Academy

Sponsor: Charlotte Vol. Fire Department


Commissioner’s Choice Award
Kaylee Simmons

Greenfield Junior High School

Sponsor: Greenfield Fire Department

The winners will each receive a $50 prize check and a certificate of achievement signed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. You can view the winning posters here:

In addition to the poster contest winners, we are also pleased to announce that the Germantown Fire Department Learning About Fire Safety (LAFS) Clown Troupe has been selected as the 2014 Public Fire Educator of the Year award recipients.

The LAFS troupe is comprised of Germantown firefighters who volunteer to assist with teaching fire safety to the community in a way that is both fun and informative. They design and produce new props and programs each year based on popular trends and characters. The clowns have completed “Educational Characterization through Clowning Academy” (aka Clown School) in Arizona to learn proper clown techniques, attire, and makeup. In addition to the clowns, team members also assist with set preparation and audio visual effects. By using entertainment, the LAFS troupe has been successful in educating audiences of all ages on key fire safety messages.

The LAFS team is led by Fire Marshal Jody Dwyer and includes Greg Strawn, Danny Hopper, Joe Bagwell, Gino Dell-Oso, Mike Hobson, Keith Saunders, Howard Thompson, Kelly White, J.R. Richardson, Daren Sirayathom, and Zack Thom.

The LAFS troupe will also be honored at the Jan. 31st awards event with a plaque and certificates signed by Gov. Bill Haslam.

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