PARK CITY, Utah. — Last week, the Park City Fire District (PCFD) presented the 2020 Chief’s Award to Captain Chris Pendleton, a nearly 40-year fire service veteran. It is the department’s top award, given to one outstanding firefighter each year.
“This was a no-brainer with [awarding] Chris…he’s the epitome of a firefighter,” said Bob Zanetti, Deputy Fire Chief at PCFD, who proposed recognizing Pendleton this year to Fire Chief Paul Hewitt.
According to Zanetti, Pendleton began working for the fire service when he was around 21, serving the Murray City Fire Department for about 20 years before joining the Park City Fire District in 2005. Zanetti said that the fire service has changed significantly throughout Pendleton’s career, and this award serves as a means to applaud Pendleton’s open-minded and innovative approach to things like new technology and equipment advancements.
“He’s always been able to adapt,” Zanetti said. “He’s never one to question new technology, he’s always the one to dive in…looking for better ways to do things. He’s a hands-on guy. That’s one of his biggest attributes.”
This award is typically presented to a person who exhibits a consistent display of dedication to the job over time. Pendleton is also lauded for his commitment to bringing mental health awareness to the forefront at PCFD. He became a Critical Stress Team Member, a counselor who assists fellow firefighters in managing their experiences with PTSD, and his tenure in the field demonstrates to the other older firefighters that it is okay to ask for help.
“He does it not to be recognized. He does it because it’s the right thing to do,” Zanetti said.
After an established career with two Utah fire departments, Pendleton plans to retire sometime in 2021.
Each year, PCFD awards several firefighters and staff for accomplishments ranging from ‘outstanding crew’ to ‘community service,’ which are voted on by peers.
2020 Award Recipients: