Robert Walloch Award

Robert Walloch Award for Firefighter of The Year

This award was created by the Grand Rapids Fire Department Membership Committee in 2007 to honor past member Robert Walloch. Firefighter Robert Walloch served on our department as a member from August 1st, 1988 to April 16th, 2006 when he lost his hard fought battle with cancer. He will be missed.

Many departments have a firefighter of the year award that is presented to a member based on accomplishments and achievements performed by the individual during the previous year. Our membership committee established this award as more than just another award for accomplishments and achievements.

The criteria for this award are based on how Robert Walloch approached this career as a volunteer firefighter, his way of life, and his battle with cancer. These characteristics are not restricted to heroic action, but encompass all aspects of productive, dedicated, and professional service:

  • Professionalism
  • Loyalty
  • Pride in one’s work
  • A Team Player
  • Formal/Informal leader, coach (encourages others), or a teacher
  • Setting a positive example to others at all times
  • Projects an esprit de corps (a state of mind, morale, a united sense, or feeling of direction, conviction, spirit, and enthusiasm toward a generally positive cause or purpose of the fire department).
  • Desire and willingness to contribute to all tasks at hand (not just the fun ones)
  • Undaunted, relentless.
  • Puts the good of the department (and others) before themselves
  • Supports others efforts to achieve the goals of the department
  • Open to new ideas and embracing them
  • Committed to protecting life, property, and resources
  • Dedicated to the department and what it stands for
  • Trustworthy (person of their word)

Members are asked to cast a vote for an officer, member, or associate member that you feel best meets the above criteria. The voting body will be made up of members and associate members. If there is a tie, the membership committee will case a tie breaking vote.

Award Recipients

2011 Recipient: Captain Robert Piatt

From Left to Right:
Captain Robert Piatt
Scott Bernette - Fire Chief

2010 Recipient: FF Taylor Quinnell

From Left to Right:
Taylor Quinnell - Fightfighter
Scott Bernette - Fire Chief

2009 Recipient: Asst Chief Mark Rusch

From Left to Right:
Mark Rusch - Asst Chief
Scott Bernette - Fire Chief

2009 Recipient- Asst Chief Mark Rusch

2008 Recipient: Lt. Mike Szwajkowski

From Left to Right:
Mike Szwajkowski
Scott Bernette - Fire Chief

2008 Recipient- Lt_ Mike Szwajkowski

2007 Recipient: Lt. Mike Szwajkowski

From Left to Right
Carol Szwajkowski - Mike’s wife
Mike Szwajkowski
Scott Bernette – Fire Chief
Kathy Walloch – Robert Walloch’s wife

2007 Recipient- Lt_ Mike Szwajkowski