(Extensions of Remarks - February 02, 2010)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E132-E133]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                            THOMAS W. OWENS


                        HON. GERALD E. CONNOLLY

                              of virginia

                    in the house of representatives

                       Tuesday, February 2, 2010

  Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia. Madam Speaker, I rise to honor City of 
Fairfax Fire Chief Thomas W. Owens and to recognize his decades of 
public service.
  Chief Owens has had a long and distinguished career in public safety. 
His journey began in 1969 when, at the age of 16, he joined the 
Sterling, Va., Volunteer Fire Department. During his 21-year tenure 
with that organization, he served in all operational capacities and 
eventually rose to the rank of Chief of the department.
  Shortly after he began volunteering with the Sterling Fire 
Department, Chief Owens began his career as a professional firefighter 
in 1972 as a Firefighter/Station Office with Prince William County, 
Va., Fire and Rescue. Between 1972 and 1990, Chief Owens' held a number 
of positions with several municipal fire departments in the National 
Capital Region, including those in Prince William, Washington, D.C., 
Loudoun County, and Fairfax County.
  In 1990, Chief Owens stepped down from his duties with the Sterling 
Volunteer Fire Department. That same year, he became the first Director 
of Fire and Rescue for the Frederick County, Va., Fire and Rescue 
Department. In 1998 Chief Owens returned to Northern Virginia as 
Assistant Fire Chief of the City of Fairfax Fire Department, and, in 
2003, he was appointed Chief.
  This impressive history of regional service tells only a small part 
of the Chief Owens story and barely captures his many contributions to 
our community. Under his leadership, emergency preparedness and public 
and professional education were top priorities. Chief Owens established 
a formal Life Safety Education Program which emphasized fire safety 
education for our most vulnerable residents, children and seniors. In 
addition, he created a citizen-based Community Emergency Response Team 
(CERT) with grant funding. His dedication to the continued education of 
emergency responders helped lead to an expansion of the Public Safety 
Training Center, the strengthening of flammable liquids firefighting 
capabilities and the implementation of a swift water rescue program. 
Under the leadership of Chief Owens, the City established an Office of 
Emergency Management.
  Chief Owens has had a permanent, indelible impact in another unique 
area. He led the efforts to strengthen and enhance the working 
relationship between the City of Fairfax Fire Department, the leaders 
of the Fairfax Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. and the City of Fairfax 
Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Association which fostered 
mutual respect, support and cooperation and resulted in second-to-none 
service to the residents of the

[[Page E133]]

City of Fairfax and the entire region. One highlight of this new 
partnership is a joint revenue-sharing program with the Fairfax 
Volunteer Fire Department to provide a sustained revenue source for 
fire truck and equipment replacement.
  Chief Owens has served as a member of the policy steering committee 
for the Northern Virginia Emergency Response System, which guides the 
all-hazards emergency planning for the region. He also served as 
Chairman of the Northern Virginia Fire Chiefs Committee for six years, 
and he coordinated the city task forces that provided support services 
in the Gulf Coast region after Hurricane Katrina.
  Madam Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in thanking Chief Owens 
for his years of dedication to public safety and his community and for 
his unwavering support of emergency responders under his command. We 
wish him the very best as he begins yet another chapter of his life as 
the Director of the Division of Fire Rescue Services for Frederick 
County, Md.