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Morris Fire Department named Fire Department of the Year

Morris Fire Chief Dave Dybdal, center, accepted the 2014 Fire Department of the Year Award from Shane Schmidt (right), president of the Minnesota State Fire Departments Association, at the organization’s state convention last weekend. The MFD was nominated by Bill Thoennes (left), first assistant fire chief with the Alexandria Fire Department.

MORRIS – The Morris Fire Department was named Minnesota’s 2014 Fire Department of the Year by the Minnesota State Fire Department Association at the organization’s state convention last weekend.

“This was a great honor for a small town out in western Minnesota just trying to make a difference in public safety and education,” said Morris Fire Chief Dave Dybdal. “It is a honor and a privilege to be the fire chief in Morris, and we have such a good group of firefighters. … When the public needs us, no matter what the problem is, no matter what time of day it is, they can call on us.”

The MFD was nominated for the award by Bill Thoennes, first assistant fire chief with the Alexandria Fire Department.

“Chief Dave Dybdal and the Morris Fire Department needs to be recognized for their outstanding leadership, both past and present, and involvement in the community, county, region and more,” wrote Thoennes in his nomination letter.

Thoennes recognized the work the MFD does with other fire departments in the area, including the Shared Services Grant that was used to develop a county-wide dispatching plan for structure and wildfires.

“Through the Shared Services Agreement they hold an annual county wide disaster drill ranging natural disaster, railroad incidents to a hazmat situation,” Thoennes said. “This has proven to be very valuable to the residents of Morris and surrounding [communities].”

Thoennes also praised the MFD’s dedication to fire prevention efforts in the community.

“Within the ranks of their department they have a Fire Prevention Coordinator who lines up visits at the local schools, including the University of Minnesota campus, daycares and businesses to teach to fire safety throughout the year,” he said. “The department also participates in the Safety First Day Camp where students from five areas come to learn fire safety and other safety topics. These functions have proven to be valuable at reducing fire accidents, injuries and fatalities within the community.”