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Top fire guy from JBLM

Base inspector receives HQDA award

Fire inspector Robby Rothwell, of JBLM Fire and Emergency Services, right, receives a coin from Lt. Gen. Douglas M. Gabram, commanding general, U.S. Army Installation Management Command, April 15. Photo credit: Nathan Wilkes, JBLM Public Affairs

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD - Robby Rothwell, a fire inspector for Joint Base Lewis-McChord Fire and Emergency Services, recently won the Department of the Army's Fire Inspector of the Year award.

Based on factors such as customer service, certifications, innovation, firefighter health and safety and other initiatives, the award recognizes the individual and cumulative efforts of fire and emergency service professionals across all Army garrisons and commands.

"In the realm of Fire and Emergency Services, teamwork and communication is at the heart of any great achievement," Rothwell said. "This award is the product of great mentorship and having the opportunity to work within an amazing team of men and women. The JBLM Fire Prevention office is a team of 10 individuals that thrive by utilizing each other's strengths and varied backgrounds."

Rothwell created the JBLM Fire Prevention annual training program to comply with Army regulations, while capturing unique service delivery capabilities. This included incorporating mission essential task listings within a comprehensive annual plan.

This also required updating lesson plans for instructors to ensure the branch is current with the latest information, technology and fire codes.

"Adapting to the COVID environment introduced significant challenges to the branch - both personally and professionally - not only on the installation, but around the world," Rothwell said. "Social interactions and physical distance requirements drastically changed the way we provided public education classes and services. The programs were previously offered in-person and transitioned to a virtual format."

Taking the lead role in facilitating the transition from in-person to virtual public education, Rothwell collaborated with team members to create baseline products, train instructors on conducting courses via MS Teams, successfully advertised the new virtual platform, sought feedback from the team and customers for improvement, and consistently negotiated network challenges during the process.

"We were tasked with planning, programming, coordinating and executing all of the branch community programs in a virtual manner utilizing the Army-adopted MS Teams environment as a platform," Rothwell said. "This was in addition to our primary duty of maintaining the Army's largest fire and life safety program, incorporating 1,700 inspections spanning across 700 square miles annually."

Since 2012, the JBLM Fire and Emergency Services team has been recognized four times as a group and once individually at the Installation Management Command level and higher for Fire and Emergency Services awards.

"As long as I've known him, Robby has never turned down a challenge," said Ed Chavez, JBLM Fire and Emergency Services public information officer. "As a former soldier and firefighter, he can personally relate to both sides of the profession and has done an incredible job here at JBLM."

Rothwell will now move on to compete against the winners of the sister services for the Department of Defense Fire and Emergency Services awards later this year. The awards program is open to all DOD fire departments and firefighters and is held in cooperation with the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

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