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The Night Vision Awards committee announced the 2019 recipients of the Night Vision Awards held in Omaha, Nebraska at the Airborne Public Safety Association Conference. Recipients were honored at the CHI Health Center in the Junior Ballroom on July 18.
“It is always a fun process preparing for the Night Vision Awards and this year was no different,” said award emcee Scott Emerine. “Reading about so many stories about lives saved, and caught suspects because of the use of NVGs [night vision goggles] is inspiring. The judges selected some great recipients from the numerous entries.”
The 10-Year Service Award is awarded to a unit/company that has successfully flown with night vision goggles for 10 years. The recipients for this award include Boston MedFlight and Spokane County Sheriff’s Office-Spokane Regional County Air Support Unit.
“The meaning of the award is complex,” said Mark Onorato, who serves as captain for Boston MedFlight. “To understand the meaning of the award, its best to understand the Boston MedFlight’s core values: collaboration over competition, investment in excellence, the culture of safety, strength from partnerships, a responsibility to share our knowledge, and compassion is a form of care, too. One of the technology advancements, which made a significant impact on safety, is the incorporation of NVGs. Since Boston MedFlight incorporated NVGs into our operation, we have worked with night vision industry leaders to maintain a fleet of the most technological advanced NVGs as possible.”
Undersheriff of Spokane County, Dave Ellis said, “The Spokane Regional Air Support Unit (SRASU) is honored to be awarded the 10-Year Service Award at APSCON. The SRASU has a firm commitment to safety, and the use of NVGs has been instrumental in keeping our flight crews safe. The use of NVGs, along with accreditation through the Airborne Public Safety Accreditation Commission, has allowed the SRASU to have a perfect safety record through its 15 years of existence. In addition to enhancing the safety of our crews, night NVGs have also enhanced our operational effectiveness when conducting search and rescue and also law enforcement missions. Numerous rescues were conducted as a direct result of the effective use of NVGs.”
The 15-Year Service award is given to a unit/company that has successfully flown with night vision goggles for 15 years. The recipient for this award is The Los Angeles County Fire Department, Air Support Unit.
Tom Short, senior pilot with Los Angeles County Fire Department, Air Support Unit said, “The unit has flown thousands of accident/incident free hours using NVGs since that time and continues in the present day to serve in a distinguished and safe manner at all hours of the day and night throughout its operational area. The mission of the Los Angeles County Fire Department is to protect lives, the environment, and property by providing prompt, skillful, and cost-effective fire protection and life safety services. The Air Operations Section strives to live up to that expectation of service every single day.”
The 20-Year Service Award is given to a unit/company that has successfully flown with night vision goggles for 20 years. The recipient for this award is the Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit.
Lieutenant Brian Olmstead with the Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit said, “The Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit is honored to be recognized for the last 20 years of using night vision goggles to aid in our Air Support operations. We are very confident that over this time, numerous lives have been saved, and our air crews have come back safely due to the technology of night vision goggles. It has been a game-changer in both the law enforcement, rescue, and firefighting world.”
The Community Awareness Award is given to a unit/company that has demonstrated proven leadership and pioneering NVGs flights in their community. This award is given to those who raise awareness about the need for NVGs, help other organizations obtain NVGs or work to bring goggles to their fleet to enhance safety in their community. The recipient of the award this year is the Los Angeles County Air Support Unit.