19 October 2023- Hagerstown Fire Department (HFD) Chief Steve Lohr recently traveled to Lansing, MI to receive the coveted William F. Foster award, sponsored by Spartan Chassis, a member of the REV Group, Inc., at the annual Fire Truck Training Conference (FTTC). Each year, the award recipient is an individual chosen for his many years of support of the professional emergency vehicle technician training and certification process through the Emergency Vehicle Technician (EVT) Commission. This year, over 300 EVTs, fleet managers, vendors, and instructors from across the United States and Canada attended the FTTC.
In his remarks, Spartan Fire Chassis Sales Director Jeffery Seal acknowledged Chief Lohr’s dedication and commitment in advancing the role of trained and certified EVTs while serving as the first uniformed fleet chief in Montgomery County Fire/Rescue, and his continued support following his promotion to the Operations Chief, and then Montgomery County Fire Chief. Lohr established relationships with nearly a dozen fire and EMS manufacturers in procuring over 200 fire, EMS, and light duty vehicles. That dedication and service endures today in his role as the HFD Chief.
In his acceptance of the award, Lohr articulated the importance of each element of an acronym he adopted: T-I-R-E-S (Train, Inspect, Repair, Equip and Service) to prepare drivers and EVTs to work together to inspect, maintain, and repair the critical assets necessary to deliver emergency services. While serving in Montgomery County, he led efforts to centralize the responsibility and authority for all emergency vehicle needs by erecting a large, primary maintenance facility and merging seven individual shops under unified authority. He further acknowledged the role that the training he and staff had received since 1998 at the FTTC was critical to the successful outcomes achieved in both jurisdictions and the influence that Mr. Foster had on implementing training across two countries, and specifically the Council of Governments Metro region.
“I remember the first time I met Bill Foster, I recognized immediately that I was in the presence of a very meek and honorable human being and a consummate professional,” Lohr said. “Our friendship started with a handshake and it has lasted 25 years. I can’t believe that my name is on anything his name is on. That’s how much admiration I have for him and what he’s done for the people in this room and in this industry.”
Lohr has been in the fire service since 1971. He retired as the Montgomery County Fire Chief at the end of 2014 and was hired as HFD Chief on June 29, 2015. He plans to retire in early 2024.