Lake County Fire Rescue Honors Three Lieutenants as Fire Officers of the Year


Three Lake County Fire Rescue personnel were among those honored for their dedication to service during the annual awards banquet that recognizes police officers, firefighters and K9 officers who went above and beyond the line of duty during the past year. The event, which takes place at Eustis Elks Lodge 1578, has been honoring first responders for 17 years.


Lake County Fire Rescue Lt. Albert Howard, Lt. Brian Merkle, and Lt. Ross Pinkerton were all recipients of the Firefighter of the Year award during the Feb. 17 event.

“These three lieutenants trained all our personnel in Rural Rescue Transport,” said Lake County Fire Chief Jim Dickerson. “This was a monumental task that took many, many hours to accomplish. As a result of their unselfishness and commitment to train our personnel in the proper procedures for transporting ill and injured patients, all 207 shift personnel are now certified.”


As there were three award recipients at this year’s event, each will display the plaque at their station for four months.

The career firefighters of Lake County Fire Rescue protect county residents and visitors in an area covering approximately 1,200 square miles, with nearly 70,000 residences and up to 2,000 commercial properties. For up-to-date news on Lake County Fire Rescue, visit,, or