Aaron Boyce, a former standout football and basketball player at Kentwood High School, has been named the 2019 Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority Firefighter of the Year.
Boyce was one of several employees honored at the Puget Sound Fire virtual awards presentation on Oct. 16. The ceremony typically is held earlier in the year but COVID-19 postponed the event and caused it to be presented in a virtual format.
“Firefighter Aaron Boyce was nominated by multiple peers,” according to a Puget Sound Fire media release. “Firefighter Boyce is acknowledged as an individual who embodies those characteristics and skills which exemplify excellence in firefighting and emergency medical services, as well as promoting and nurturing excellence within his team and department. He has taken a key role in the implementation of the department’s heavy rescue resource, developed auto extrication best practices used throughout the region and comes to work every day to be the best that he can be.”
Boyce, a 2005 Kentwood graduate, excelled in football and basketball with the Conquerors. Kentwood won the Class 4A state basketball title in 2004 and placed second in 2005. He went on to play four years of football at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, where the 6-foot-3, 210-pound wide receiver rewrote record books from 2006 to 2009. He still ranks third in career receptions with 222.
Boyce is the son of Bill Boyce, a member of the Kent City Council and former Kent School Board member.
Kent-based Puget Sound Fire serves Kent, Covington, Maple Valley and SeaTac:
Other award winners nominated by their peers include:
• Nikki Smith
Engineer Nikki Smith received the Outstanding Community Service by Department Personnel. This goes to an individual who shows outstanding dedication to the department, professionalism and commitment to better the community. Smith was chosen for her work with multiple community organizations and her leadership to the Kent Firefighters Foundation.
• Pat Ellis
Chaplain Pat Ellis received the Distinguished Service Award. This honor is given to an individual who exhibits unusual thoughtfulness, conscientiousness, determination, and initiative in the performance of duty over time, and who brings honor and distinction to the department. Ellis has been acknowledged for his work with responders and community members on the incident scene, at department functions and his support to the regional fire service as an invaluable resource.
• Becky Cole
Becky Cole was chosen Employee of the Year as the civilian department member who consistently and with a high degree of excellence, exemplifies the best of the organization in actions and attitude within her team and department. Cole works in the logistics warehouse, has a great attitude and credited her team to her success.
• Jessi Nemens
Capt. Jessi Nemens was named Officer of the Year. This award is reserved for an individual who embodies those characteristics and skills which exemplify excellence in leadership. Additionally, this individual demonstrates characteristics and attitude that promote and nurture excellence within their team and department. Out of a field of excellent nominees, Nemens was recognized for her constant drive to make herself and her team better.
• Unit Citation Awards
This honor is awarded to a group of department members who make up a company or team, which has performed in an outstanding manner worthy of recognition.
The two teams recognized this year were:
The human resources department team of Lindsey Arsanto, Kari Meyers, Jennifer Zager, Tracy Mulligan, Jessica Steward and Blake Holt; and the finance team of Jean Anderson, Kris Hauer, Laura Buckley and Kristi Weaver.