The Apopka Fire Department announced its selections for the 2021 Firefighter and Paramedic of the Year.
Paramedic Eric Berrios was voted as the 2021 Firefighter of the Year.
Berrios began his career with the AFD in 2009 and is currently assigned to Fire Station 1 C-Shift. In addition to receiving this great honor, Berrios was previously voted as the Apopka Fire Department 2020 Paramedic of the Year.
The statement by the AFD said this about Berrios:
"Eric can continually be found putting the needs of others above all else and going beyond his normal duties to make visible improvements that have enhanced the department’s ability to better serve our growing community.
Eric is seen by his peers as a role model and serves as the primary Paramedic Preceptor on his shift training new paramedics and EMT’S with unwavering commitment, instilling in them a skill set and confidence they will carry through their career.
Berrios also serves the Apopka community with humility and faces each day with the focus that no matter what you do or who you are, you can effect change and have an impact on someone’s life. Eric’s professionalism and dedication embody the philosophies, goals, and mission of the Apopka Fire Department and are an example to all of this agency's values and caliber."
Along with being a Preceptor, Berrios completed his American Heart Association Instructor courses and assisted with the yearly recertification training of all department members as well as community-based courses. He is also part of the AFD Special Operations Team and working on his training to become a FLUSAR Rescue Technician.
Tim Sundvall voted as the 2021 Paramedic of the Year
Sundvall began his career with the AFD as a volunteer firefighter in 2019 and became a full-time firefighter in April of 2020 and is currently assigned to Fire Station 1 C-Shift.
The statement by the AFD said this about Sundvall:
"In 2021, Tim responded to more emergency calls for service than any other Paramedic within the AFD. In each one of those 427 calls, he consistently maintained a professional appearance and practiced the kind of care we would all wish for our family members in a time of need.
As one of our Apopka Fire Department Paramedic Preceptors, Tim demonstrates the highest degree of dedication and professionalism as he supports others' efforts toward achieving their goals and is seldom seen without a smile on his face. This positive outlook and consistent desire to learn more about his craft brings about fantastic and powerful energy to the fire station atmosphere and is an example to those he serves alongside."
Apopka Fire Chief Sean Wylam was proud of Berrios and Sundvall's efforts in 2021.
"In the fire service we hold ourselves accountable to a higher standard when it comes to public trust and professionalism," he said. "Both the Firefighter of the Year and Paramedic of the Year awards are given to individuals who exemplify the positive characteristics of a member of the fire service. Even though these awards are not given for heroism per say, these award are presented to the individuals who has given selflessly of themselves in support of the Apopka Fire Department, the fire service in general, and the community. Both Firefighter Eric Berrios and Tim Sundvall are prime examples of just that. They have gone above and beyond their normal duties and have shown visible examples of the department’s higher standard. Each of them has performed their duties in a manner that exemplifies the competency that reflects the highest standards of the fire service and regularly demonstrates a key word in our industry…professionalism. Moreover, both Eric and Tim have shown that they not only represent us well, but truly want to pass on these traditions to all others around them. We are extremely proud of our Firefighter of the Year Eric Berrios, and our Paramedic of the Year Tim Sundvall."