Thomas E. Andross, Law Enforcement Officer of the Year
Director of Communications – Grafton County Sheriff’s Department
Tom Andross served as New Hampshire State Police Communications Specialist for 19 years. In 1991, he began working for Grafton County Sheriff’s Department as a dispatcher. In 2000, he was appointed Director of Communications for the Sheriff, a position that her currently holds.
Tom has been a certified Police Officer for over 30 years and serves as a special deputy with the Grafton County Sheriff’s Department.
Tom has been a member of the New Hampshire Emergency Dispatcher Association for over a decade and has served as both Vice President and President of that organization.
In 2006 Tom led the way in the construction and moving of the communication center into its “state of the art” secure facility. He also secured grant funding from the Department of Homeland Security that resulted in the purchase of the Grafton County Mobile Command Unit.
Tom Andross serves on many committees related to Emergency Dispatching and communications.
Chief Maynard S. Farr, EMS Honoree of the Year
Chief Maynard S. Farr has been involved in EMS, Fire and Police During a 50+ year career serving Public Safety. The 2016 EMS Honoree’s career began at age 16, as a firefighter in a small town. During his tenure, the chief enhanced the training and equipment of the Fire Department, served in the establishment of the Town’s FAST Squad and worked to build up the Police Department.
Outside the Public Safety Community Chief Farr has been very involved with the Local Men’s Club, a fund-raising organization dedicated to scholarships for local youth, giving of his own time and money for this purpose. He also serves his church and is solely responsible for the annual chicken barbecue.
Chief Farr continues to serve the Town of Monroe as Chief of the FAST Squad, Fire Warden and maintains his EMT skills working with the Woodsville Ambulance. His passion is to improve the lives of others both in and out of the Public Safety arena. Further, his personal acts and deeds have saved many lives.
Chief Farr truly represents those unsung heroes in life who address the needs of others, watch out for the safety of friends and neighbors, care for those in distress while never expecting praise or recognition, whose sacrifices are great, but whose actions are so quiet, so private and so honestly humble we rarely hear about them.
Chief George “Rick” Eichler, Fire Fighter of the Year
Richard Eichler has dedicated 33 years to the fire service serving the residents of Gorham; the last 18 years as Fire Chief, during which time he has been an inspiration, a leader, and a mentor to his fellow firefighters in the town he was worked and throughout Coos county.
Richard has been instrumental in instructing firefighting classes all over the North Country from Franconia to Pittsburg. He has been a New Hampshire Fire Academy Staff Instructor for more than 20 years where he teaches Fire Fighting I and II courses of instruction, as well as training and instruction of Rapid Intervention Teams.
Richard has been a member of the executive board of the New Hampshire Firemen’s Association for over 15 years and currently serves as Treasurer of that association. He is also a member of the Granite State Fire Service Support Team that assists firefighting families in times of sorrow.
He was influential in the organizing and implementation of the North Country Emergency Response Team, which responds to Hazardous Materials Incidents throughout the North Country.
Richard has given his time and energy in supporting the construction of the Ray Burton Fire and EMS Training Facility recently built in Bethlehem, and the New Hampshire Fallen Firefighters Memorial, where he was instrumental in bringing the bell from the Gorham Methodist Church to the memorial as the centerpiece for that important memorial to fallen firefighters.
William Degnan, President’s Award
State Fire Marshall
The President’s Award is not issued every year. It is reserved to honor an individual that has made a significant difference in the lives of those in the North Country that typically spans the entire region. State Fire Marshall Degnan has made a significant difference in Public Safety not only in the North Country, but throughout the State and the Nation.
He is extremely passionate about Public Safety. A graduate of the University of New Hampshire, his career started over 40 years ago. He is certified as both a sworn law enforcement officer and a certified firefighter and he started as a call firefighter in Merrimack, New Hampshire.
Degnan became a full-time firefighter at the largest hazard in the State, Seabrook Station in Seabrook, then went on to become a Fire Investigator for the State of New Hampshire. He has been with the same state agency within the Department of Safety for 29 years and serving the past 12 years as Director. He is known nationally for his efforts in dealing with safety concerns with propane gas that did not have the odorant injected, safer cigarettes, propane corrugated steel tubing bonding, and residential home sprinklers.
One of Degnan’s peers has said of him: “While quiet and some would say unassuming, the honoree is a force to be reckoned when he sets his mind to it. He is willing to share his passion for fire safety and continual improvement of the fire service across the nation with demonstrated results that make a difference.”
Degnan continues to promote fire/emergency service life safety issues, he works to advance their readiness, he has strengthened fire safety through fire prevention, and he consistently acts as a catalyst to improve the fire service. His actions have kept all of us safer given his sphere of influence during his career, regardless of where we live or play.