The University of Missouri's Fire & Rescue Training Institute (MU FRTI) presented the Fire Service Instructor of the Year for 2007 – 2008 awards at the annual Instructor's Conference on October 25, 2008. This year's conference was held at the Resort at Port Arrowhead in Lake Ozark, MO.
This year's recipient of the MU FRTI Instructor of the Year award was Michael L. Arnhart Fire Chief of the High Ridge Fire Protection District in High Ridge, MO. MU FRTI Director David Hedrick said that, "Instructor Arnhart exemplifies the very best in fire service instruction and we are proud of his dedicated service with the Institute." Arnhart has been an adjunct instructor with the MU FRTI program since 1991. He has been the previous recipient of the Institute's Fire Instructor of the Year award twice before in 1998 and 2000.
Arnhart started his career in the fire service as a junior firefighter in 1972 and progressed to volunteer status in 1976. In 1977 he was hired as a paid firefighters for the High Ridge Fire Protection District. He received his Associates of Science degree in Fire Science Technology in 1983 from Jefferson College in Hillsboro, MO, and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Illinois University in 1994. Arnhart served on the Fire Science Advisory Committee for Jefferson College, as well as serving as the Fire Science Coordinator for East Central College. He has taught at local, state, and national fire service conferences including the United States National Fire Academy. In his career he has moved up through the ranks, and since 2005 he has served as the Fire Chief of the High Ridge Fire Protection District.
In addition to the award given to Mr. Arnhart, MU FRTI recognized the first and second runners-up for the Instructor of the Year. Instructor Brad Dillow, a Captain with the Cape Girardeau Fire Department, was Second Runner-Up, and John Sachen with the Delta Fire Protection District was First Runner-Up. Director Hedrick acknowledged the important job that all fire service instructors perform. Hedrick said: "Fire Instructors have the responsibility of preparing the firefighter to competently perform skills and techniques necessary in saving lives and property of the citizens they serve. The potential impact that each instructor can make through each class they deliver is incalculable."
The MU FRTI is charged with the responsibility of providing comprehensive continuing professional education training to Missouri's fire service and emergency response personnel. Last year over 311,000 student instructional hours were delivered in training emergency first responders. The Institute has a cadre of over 200 adjunct instructors.
Fire & Rescue Training Institute
University of Missouri