The University of Missouri’s Fire & Rescue Training Institute (MU FRTI) presented the Fire Service Instructor of the Year award for 2014-2015 at the annual Instructor’s Conference on October 24, 2015. The conference and awards ceremony were held at the Country Club Hotel and Spa in Lake of the Ozarks, MO.
This year’s recipient of the MU FRTI Instructor of the Year award is Mark Arnold, Fire Chief with the Thayer Fire Department in Thayer, MO. MU FRTI Director David Hedrick said, “Instructor Arnold has a passion for providing the very best in fire service instruction, and the Institute is proud of his dedicated service as a member of our Instructional Cadre.” Arnold has been an adjunct instructor with the MU FRTI program since 1999.
Arnold started his career in the fire service in 1988 as a firefighter. He then had added duties as Safety and Training Officer. He earned his Firefighter 1 and 2 and his Instructor III in 1999. In 2000, he was appointed Assistant Chief, then in 2011, Fire Chief of the Thayer Fire Department. He received his BSE degree in Industrial Arts Education from the School of the Ozarks in 1981, and his MSE in Industrial Technology in 1987 from Southwest Missouri State University. Mark worked for 30 years with the Thayer High School where he taught Industrial Technology, retiring in 2011. He is also the Emergency Management Director for the City of Thayer. Instructor Arnold said that, “his greatest reward is seeing his students learn safe tasks to make them better firefighters.”
In addition to the award given to Chief Arnold, MU FRTI recognized the first and second runners-up for the Instructor of the Year. First runner-up was David Nichols, retired Fire Marshal from the Monarch Fire Protection District in Monarch, MO, and MU FRTI adjunct instructor. Chief Michel Arnhart with the High Ridge Fire Protection District in High Ridge, MO, was Second Runner-Up. Chief Arnhart was the 2014 recipient of the Instructor of the Year.
Director Hedrick acknowledged the important job that all fire service instructors perform, “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. Through the classes they teach, MU FRTI Instructors enable Missouri firefighters do their work better and more safely by providing the best and most relevant training and education.”
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 13,000 fire and emergency service first responders received training from the Institute. The Institute has a cadre of over 130 adjunct instructors.