2015 Responder of the Year

The Responder of the Year for 2015 was awarded to

Deputy Chief Gregg Ginebaugh

On September 21, 2015, MCRA President, Susan Elben, awarded Deputy Chief Gregg Ginebaugh with the 2015 MCRA Responder of the Year Award during the 27th Annual Michigan Crisis Response Association training conference that was held at the Michigan 4-H Foundation Kettunen Center in Tustin, Michigan.

Dorothy Flaska nominated Deputy Chief Ginebaugh for the following reasons:

“A firefighter for the last 29 years, this person is one of the most well respected crisis responders in the State of Michigan.  While he was instrumental in the creation of the most active crisis response team in western Michigan over 15 years ago, he is also one of its most active members, while additionally volunteering on the CMH CISM team also, and additionally, serving on the MCRA Board of Directors for the last 15 years; in 2001 as Board Chairman.  And, though he is not currently holding an office on our team as he has during multiple years in the past, it is both the leadership skills he displays, as well as the expertise he is so willing to share, that results in him being consulted whenever any difficult situation comes up.  A perfect example of his leadership skills occurred in late spring when he was chosen for the role of Incident Commander during a Federal simulated disaster in Kent County, complete with Black Hawk helicopters.

From this, it isn't hard to deduce that this man also has the respect of his colleagues within Fire Departments across the region.  However, though he assumed the incredibly complex role of IC with his usual sense of confidence and strong organizational skills, the important thing for our purpose here is that he didn't for a minute forget his commitment to crisis response work.  He ensured there was a CISM team present during that day, recognizing that even during a mock disaster, volunteers could potentially be traumatized, being exposed to role players who had been injured or killed.  But also, by involving MWM CISM team members at the simulated disaster and requiring beforehand that as many of those members as possible earn the required credentials to respond to a Federal emergency, it showed his total commitment to meeting the needs of his community, should a real disaster occur.

As many people who have served as Coordinators of CISM teams know, they are often the primary point person in receiving requests for CISM services.  But, in our case, especially this year, our team received almost as many requests thru this firefighter as we did directly from other first responder agencies, including from agencies outside of our 'catchment' area.  This is because of his excellent reputation and his demonstrated commitment to providing Mutual Aid, which we did on at least 4 occasions this year.  There is no doubt that this is not just the result of his commitment to ensuring that CISM services are provided wherever they might be needed, but also because of the trust level he has established within the First Responder world.  It is known that on at least two occasions, this firefighter went to the scene of a critical incident as soon as he was notified of it.  Without even being asked, he provided a much needed defusing on one occasion and 1 to 1's for first responders still on the scene, then coordinated the more formal response when he determined that follow up was needed.  (And, while I recognize that I am about to mention an incident that is technically outside the time parameters as it is happening right now, it is Gregg Ginebaugh who received a direct request by the Lansing Fire Department to assist them in dealing with the very traumatic death of their fellow firefighter on 9/9/2015.)

While this last issue I will mention might not seem as important as his leadership skills, excellent response coordination, and/or his follow up to ensure that everyone's needs have been met, it does show his other organizational strengths.  Almost singlehandedly, this very busy firefighter updated and rewrote the By Laws for our First Responder team and has currently done a great deal of research so that MCRA's By Laws could be updated and clarified.  He is a 'techie extraordinaire', being the 'go to guy' on everything from updating our phone system to creating a website for storing all of our documents, as well as providing access to a secure avenue for internal communication.  One quote received about him may sum things up...'he never stops thinking of ways to make things better for people and there is no challenge too big or too small for him to take on.'

Last, while all of the above certainly seems like more than enough to be considered an exemplary Crisis Responder, it really isn't complete without mentioning the personal characteristics of Gregg Ginebaugh, the Deputy Chief of the Kentwood Fire Department....he is a reserved but forthright man, strong in his principles, He demonstrates passion and dedication to providing quality CISM services while always also educating people about its importance.  While he often displays a great sense of humor, he never does so at anyone's expense and he exhibits absolutely no sense of his own self-importance.  I would venture to guess that even being recommended for this award would come as a great surprise to him.  It's quite likely that he doesn't even know how well thought of he is by his CISM team members, his colleagues or the multiple communities he has provided crisis response services to.  That truly does make him a person worthy of this award.”

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