VFW officials and firefighters plus some family and friends turned out on a windy, rainy afternoon, Wednesday, September 23 for the presentation of local and state VFW Firefighter of the Year Award to South County Fire’s own Dave “Bronco” Erickson as he received both the National and the State of Washington VFW award for Firefighter of the Year.
Edmonds VFW Post 8870 Commander Rose Gilliland introduced Erickson and presented the award. “Bronco is a giant amongst us as a public servant,” Gilliland said. “This award recognizes your exemplary record of courageous service to the community and the nation and your extraordinary commitment in keeping with the esteemed core values and traditions of the firefighter profession. You are a role model to all firefighters, and this honor reflects the proudest ideals of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. Thanks to you for all you do every day to support your fellow firefighters, our fire chiefs and everyone in our community.”
State VFW Senior Vice Commander Chad Hassebroek then presented Erickson with the Golden Eagle, officially recognizing him as the Washington State VFW Firefighter of the Year.
Each year individual VFW Posts are encouraged to nominate a local Fire Fighter or EMT for this award, from which group is chosen the VFW District and State Award winners. The ceremony was held in the Fallen Firefighter Memorial Park adjacent to Edmonds Fire Station 17, sacred ground for firefighters, and a place to which Erickson dedicated years of his life bringing into being. Erickson’s role in bringing this memorial to Edmonds was a large part of VFW Post 8870’s decision to recognize him with this award.
While the memorial had been his vision and his passion for many years, it began in earnest in 2011 when Erickson personally traveled to New York City to pick up and escort back to Edmonds the one-ton steel I-beam from the wreckage of the World Trade Center, which now forms the centerpiece of the park.