John M. Buckman III Leadership Award

Sponsored by Provident Insurance and VCOS

The award recognizes a chief officer of a volunteer or combination fire department who stands out on the local or regional level as a true professional who has demonstrated leadership, integrity, and outstanding values within the fire service. The annual award is presented each November at the VCOS Symposium in the Sun 

In addition to the actual award, Provident pays the winner's travel and lodging expenses to attend the award ceremonies at the VCOS Symposium in the Sun and the VCOS will waive the recipient's registration fee for the conference.

If you know a chief officer deserving of national recognition for leadership skills, please nominate him or her for the John M. Buckman, III Leadership Award. Nominees must be IAFC members.

Award Winner

2021: Retired Assistant Chief David Lewis Sr., Odenton (Maryland) Volunteer Fire Company 

Past Award Winners

2019: Chief John Morrison, Vienna (Virginia) Volunteer Fire Department

2018: Chief James P. Seavey, Sr., Cabin John Park (Maryland) Volunteer Fire Department

2017: Chief Judy Thill, Inver Grove Heights (Minn.) Fire Department

2016: Chief Rich Cowger, Columbus (Mont.) Fire Rescue

2015: Chief Joseph Florentino, Little Elm (Texas) Fire Department


2014: Chief Michael Morgan, Fire Chief of Colorado River (Colo.) Fire Rescue

Pictured left to right: Chief John M. Buckman, III, Chief Mike Morgan, Mr. Jeff Siegrist of Provident.

Chief Morgan has been in the fire service for 28 years. He brought his department from an all-volunteer organization with 35 members and one fire station to a combination department of more than 100 members and 5 staffed fire stations. He has developed and instructed many courses at the National Fire Academy and around the country including being instrumental with the VCOS FROG program. He has lobbied to the Colorado congress to make being in the fire service safer for firefighters. Chief Morgan has served in all positions of the Colorado State Fire Chiefs. His most recent accomplishment has been merging two fire departments into one. Some words his nominators used to describe him as a leader include, “willing to be servant first, a mentor, passionate, respected by others, high ethical standards, integrity, a great listener, and takes ownership.


2013: Chief Charles Addington, II, EFO of Wolfforth (Texas) Fire & EMS

Front row from left to right: Mr. Jeff Siegrist, Provident Insurance, Chief Charles Addington, II, Chief John M. Buckman, III, Mr. Ron Oettel, Provident Insurance. Back row are members from Chief Addington’s department.

Chief Addington demonstrates the importance and hierarchy of wearing the fifth bugle. He has a commitment to the EMS and fire service for not only his community but for the region and state.  He completed the EFO Program in just 2 ½ years.  He has been on the Wolfforth City Council for twelve years, is now the Mayor, and participated in National Fire Academy course rewriting (Leadership I, II & III). He is Chief of the Wolfforth Fire Academy. He has been the Medical Director of the Brayton Fire Field in College Station, Texas (and instructor) for eight years. He is a volunteer fire chief for the Wolfforth Fire & EMS Department.


2012: Chief Christopher Barron, Fire Chief of the Manchaca (Texas) Fire/Rescue Department

Pictured left to right: Chief Timothy S. Wall, VCOS Chair, Mr. Barry Balliet, President of Provident, Chief Christopher Barron, Chief John M. Buckman, III.

Chief Barron has been a champion for the volunteer firefighters his entire fire service career, not only in Texas but across the country. He actively advocates for the volunteers through his career job as the Executive Director of the State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association, by his service as a member of the Rural Fire Advisory Council, the First Responder Advisory Council and the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS).



2011: Chief Christopher Jones, Mount Carmel (Tenn.) Fire Department

Pictured left to right: Chief Christopher Jones receives the award from Chief John M. Buckman, III as Chief Jones' son and Mr. Jeff Siegrist from Provident look on.

During his tenure as fire chief, Chief Jones proved to be a fine example of an effective fire service leader.


2010: Chief John E. Bales, Golden (Colo.) Fire Department

Pictured left to right: Chief John Buckman stands with Chief John Bales as his son, Captain Steve Bales presents the 2010 award.

The award was presented by Chief Bales' son, Captain Steve Bales, who, unknownst to his father, was brought to the Symposium in the Sun to make the presentation.


2009: Chief Randall F. Parr, Tomball (Texas) Fire Department

Pictured left to right: Chief Randall Parr, U.S. Fire Administrator (2009-2010) Chief Kelvin Cochran and Chief John Buckman.

"Chief Parr is truly an outstanding example of a great fire service leader." said Jeff Siegrist of Provident. "Chief Parr's accomplishments over the course of his long career are many, and his leadership skills are evident to anyone given the opportunity to meet him. I was most impressed by his unassuming, but confident demeanor. On a personal level, he exhibits the type of humility that often seems to be an important characteristic of a true leader... He is quick to give all credit for his success to his subordinates."