Dave 'Bronco' Erickson is 2-time Firefighter of the Year
Last updated 10/3/2020 at 1:10pm
Veterans of Foreign Wars officials, firefighters, family, and friends turned out on a windy, rainy Sept. 23 for the presentation of local and state VFW Firefighter of the Year Award to South County Fire's Dave "Bronco" Erickson.
He received both the national and the state of Washington VFW award for Firefighter of the Year.
Edmonds VFW Post 8870 Commander Rose Gilliland introduced Erickson and presented the award.
"Bronco is a giant among us as a public servant," Gilliland said. "This award recognizes your exemplary record of courageous service to the community and the nation and your extraordinary commitment in keeping with the esteemed core values and traditions of the firefighter profession.
"You are a role model to all firefighters, and this honor reflects the proudest ideals of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. Thanks to you for all you do every day to support your fellow firefighters, our fire chiefs, and everyone in our community."
State VFW Senior Vice Commander Chad Hassebroek then presented Erickson with the Golden Eagle, officially recognizing him as the Washington State VFW Firefighter of the Year.
Each year, individual VFW Posts are encouraged to nominate a local firefighter or EMT for this award, and winners are chosen from this group.
The ceremony was held in the Fallen Firefighter Memorial Park adjacent to Edmonds Fire Station 17, and a place that Erickson dedicated years of his life bringing into being. Erickson's role in bringing this memorial to Edmonds was a large part of VFW Post's decision to recognize him with this award.
While the memorial had been his vision and his passion for many years, it began in earnest in 2011 when Erickson personally traveled to New York City to pick up and escort back to Edmonds the 1-ton steel I-beam from the wreckage of the World Trade Center, which now forms the centerpiece of the park.
The beam stands on twin stainless steel towers, recalling the twin towers of the World Trade Center. It is flanked by two steel and glass panels also symbolizing the towers and composed of 3,000 individual glass facets honoring the 3,000 who died that day.
Within the panels are 60 blue and 343 red facets arranged in an American Flag pattern to honor the police officers and firefighters who lost their lives as they fought to help and rescue victims.
"We'll never know which tower the beam came from," said Erickson. "It was just part of the rubble, but it holds a special place in our hearts, and we are so very thankful to have had the honor to bring this piece to Snohomish County and specifically to Edmonds."
Michael Denton is a member of the Edmonds VFW Post 8870.