VIENNA, Va. (WDVM) — Chief John Morrison of the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department has been named the International Association of Fire Chiefs’ Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year.
“It’s a bit overwhelming; surreal, even, to receive this award,” said Morrison. “I originally thought it was a practical joke, but it turned out it wasn’t, so here I am!”
Morrison was chosen from tens of thousands of volunteer fire chiefs in the country. A career volunteer fire chief was also chosen. He grew up in Fairfax County and joined the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department when he turned 16-years-old in 1996. He’s been serving as chief since 2010 and says the award is a “tremendous honor.”
Morrison developed the Volunteer Management System – a digitized portal for volunteers to track hours, sign up for shifts and classes, and manage equipment – not only in Vienna, but county-wide.
From volunteer to firefighter to fire chief, Morrison hasn’t forgotten the 16-year-olds he manages, who share a dream he had not too long ago.
“I actually came to Vienna because my dad recommended it,” said Abigail Presson, a volunteer recruit since January, whose father is a former volunteer chief of the Bailey’s Crossroads station. “So out of the stations in Fairfax that took junior members, he actually pointed me here because he liked the way it was run, and he knew John…he knew that he’d take good care of me as a junior member.”
Morrison formally received the award (along with a ring) last week at the International Fire and Rescue Conference in Atlanta.