Richmond, Va. –
It only took a spark, but the blaze of a career built by Fire Chief Don Rodgers, Fire and Emergency Branch, Security and Emergency Services Division, Defense Logistics Agency Installation Management Richmond, has also served to illuminate his many achievements. Rodgers made local history May 3, when he became the first DLA firefighter to be inducted into the 2019 Department of Defense Firefighters Hall of Fame.
“I am truly honored and humbled by the recognition,” said Rodgers. “This type of recognition wouldn’t be possible without a great team that supports me and the organization on a daily basis. We wouldn’t be able to do the things we do without the commitment to excellence that each Fire and Emergency Services team member brings to work each day.”
Rodgers was one of four fire personnel inducted into this year’s hall of fame. The ceremony was held at the Department of Defense Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas. Guy Simmons, chief, Security and Emergency Services Division, said, “The academy is where all DoD firefighters go for initial recruit training, and 17 advance firefighting and officer courses. This is a great honor and truly one I am personally proud of.”
Rodgers began his DoD firefighting service career at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, in 1986. He later spent seven years at Goodfellow Air Force Base before filling posts at Fort Eustis, Virginia, and West Point, New York. Rodgers arrived at Defense Supply Center Richmond in 2003. His service here has included Installation Fire Chief; Fire and Emergency Services Program Manager; and served a deployment as Director, Security and Emergency Services, Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.
Rodgers was selected to become the first operational program manager at DLA Headquarters, Fort Belvoir, Va. for all DLA Fire and Emergency Services, and under his direction, program continuity was built along with a career progression model for DLA firefighters. Under his leadership, all installations achieved accreditation status through the Center for Public Safety Excellence.
Rodgers also developed standardized position descriptions for all positions with DLA Human Resources. Additionally, he was instrumental in the creation of the DLA Paramedic Program, which allows for ladder promotions and paramedic certification paid for by the agency.
Rodgers’s service has been recognized at the local level on several occasions. DLA Richmond Fire and Emergency Services received the DLA’s Fire Department of the Year award in 2014, 2016 and in 2017; the Fire Prevention Program of Year award in 2006, 2014, 2015 and 2017; and, finally, under Rogers’s leadership, a Certificate of Special Recognition was presented to the Fire and Emergency Services Operations Section as part of the Commander in Chief’s Annual Award for Installation Excellence in 2016.
Rodgers has supplemented his career with service to several professional organizations:
- Chairman, Virginia Federal Military Firefighters Section (2003-2008)
- Member, Virginia Fire Chiefs Association
- Member, Central Virginia Fire Chiefs Working Group
- Chairman, DoD Fire and Emergency Services Working Group 2012
- Leader of the Year 2013, Defense Logistics Agency
“I believe that affiliations and memberships with professional organizations is a pillar of a solid career progression path,” Rodgers said. “Professional organizations such as the Military Firefighter Heritage Foundation help to educate and teach current and future leaders while preserving the past of the fire service and its history within the Department of Defense. It was extremely moving to witness this year’s fallen firefighter ceremony that was hosted by the Military Firefighter Heritage Foundation. It’s these events that preserve our history and pay tribute to those that serve and gave their lives in the line of duty,” he said.
The Firefighters Hall of Fame is managed by the Military Firefighter Heritage Foundation. The foundation was established to preserve the heritage and history of the DoD Fire Service. “They have done many things for the firefighting community such as the Apparatus Restoration Program, a scholarship program for DoD Firefighters and their families, charity support and recognition of fire service professionals who have had a significant impact on DoD Fire and Emergency Services,” Simmons said.