February 2, 2010 - Issue: Vol. 156, No. 15 — Daily Edition111th Congress (2009 - 2010) - 2nd Session
IN RECOGNITION OF THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF CITY OF FAIRFAX, VA., FIRE CHIEF THOMAS W. OWENS; Congressional Record Vol. 156, No. 15
(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 [www.gpo.gov] IN RECOGNITION OF THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF CITY OF FAIRFAX, VA., FIRE CHIEF 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. ____________________