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Firefighter group honors Rep. Spears as legislator of the year

In Photo (from left): Asst. Chief Christopher Koretski (Watch Hill Fire Department), Chief Kettle, Representative Spears, Chief Justin Lee (Hope Valley-Wyoming Fire District), Chief Tom Reed (Kingston Fire District), and Chief John Mackay (Westerly Fire Department), January 22. Photo courtesy of the Rhode Island Southern Firefighters League.

The Rhode Island Southern Firefighters League has honored Rep. Tina Spears as its 2024 legislator of the year.


“I am honored and humbled to receive this award from the people who serve our community, risking their lives to protect our residents and keep our beautiful community safe,” said Representative Spears (D-Dist. 36, Charlestown, New Shoreham, South Kingstown, Westerly). “They should be the ones receiving our applause.”


Chief Andrew Kettle of Charlestown Ambulance-Rescue Service presented the award at the annual legislators’ dinner on Jan. 22 to Representative Spears, citing her work in the past legislative year to increase reimbursement rates for ambulance services and her ongoing leadership in providing mutual aid to the Block Island Fire & Rescue Department.


“I nominated Representative Spears due to her steadfast support of EMS and fire personnel in our area,” said Chief Kettle. “Her work last year added $5 million to the state budget, half of it in matching federal funds, towards ambulance reimbursement rates, which has been huge for the sustainability of EMS in our area and across the state.”


The RI Southern Firefighters League is a membership organization of fire districts, associations and departments, made up of an estimated 1,200 volunteer fire and EMS personnel, along with a few paid personnel. Together they cover approximately one third of Rhode Island’s square mileage. The league was founded in 1954 with the purpose of coordinating mutual aid and radio communications between members. Since this founding it has expanded its mission to include the joint purchasing of accident and sickness insurance, regional training, joint purchasing of equipment and the sharing of a dispatch center.


The event was also attended by Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly), Rep. Kathleen A. Fogarty (D-Dist. 35, South Kingstown), Rep. Megan L. Cotter (D-Dist. 39, Exeter, Richmond, Hopkinton), Sen. Victoria Gu (D-Dist. 38, Westerly, Charlestown, South Kingstown) and Sen. Elaine J. Morgan (R-Dist. 34, Hopkinton, Charlestown, Exeter, Richmond, West Greenwich).

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