The News-Star and sponsors Shawnee Milling Company and Berkshire Hathaway Home Service/Benchmark Realty are announcing the honorees for 2019 Firefighter of the Year and 2019 Volunteer Firefighter of the Year.

2019 Firefighter of the Year

James Kriwanek, Shawnee Fire Department

James Kriwanek, who serves as Shawnee's deputy fire marshal, works in public education, fire investigation and business inspections and attended the Fire Investigation Course at the National Fire Academy. Kriwanek has organized and directed multiple smoke detector installation campaigns around Shawnee in conjunction with the American Red Cross, and the methods he created and implemented for the installation events here are now in use by the Red Cross across the state. Because of Kriwanek's preparation and dedication, firefighters, with free smoke detectors, have covered the entire area of Shawnee south of Highland Street and some areas south of Independence Street as well. Kriwanek is also an active member of the Swift Water Rescue Team, the Shawnee Police Department's SWAT team as well as the Fire Marshal's Association of Oklahoma and the International Association of Arson Investigators.

2019 Volunteer Firefighter of the Year

Mark Rodman, Tribbey Volunteer Fire Department

Mark Rodman serves as fire chief of the Tribbey Volunteer Fire Department. He was nominated because of his remarkable efforts in getting volunteers to join the department and serve their community and neighbors as volunteers. Rodman also volunteered to serve as the chairman of the Pottawatomie County Fire Chief's Association. When there is a controlled burn in their area, Rodman and the Tribbey Fire Department go out and do a standby to make sure that fire doesn't get out of control, while Rodman and the department are always glad to provide mutual aid to other fire departments. In addition to his volunteer firefighter duties and serving the community in that role, Rodman is also known as a handyman who often helps citizens of the community with projects when he is needed.

Watch future editions of the News-Star for stories and awards presentations to these two honorees.