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Local Firefighter Recognized for Military Service with Award Nomination

Nominees for the Ultimate Wingman Award were recently honored at the inaugural Ultimate Wingman Military Heroes Award Banquet on Nov. 15.

A firefighter with Barrow County Emergency Services is one of five Georgia National Guard soldiers to be nominated for an award for his military service. 

Lt. Travis Vanzo has been nominated for the Ultimate Wingman Award, which is presented by The Wingman Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises funds and awareness for soldiers, veterans and their families in need, as well as other military-related organizations. All nominees were recognized at the inaugural Ultimate Wingman Military Heroes Award Banquet on Thursday Nov. 15, at the Cobb Energy Center.

The Ultimate Wingman award recognizes outstanding service members who are serving their country with distinction. Nominees must exhibit a remarkable commitment to their country, outstanding contributions to their community and compassion and concern for their fellow service members.

“We are very proud that Lieutenant Vanzo received this recognition for his dedication to Barrow County, the State of Georgia and the United States of America,” Chief Dennis Merrifield said in a news release. “He is a very patriotic, dedicated man that is a wonderful example of the great men and woman that work for Barrow County Emergency Services. We thank him for his service to both our country and our county.”

About Lt. Vanzo

Lieutenant Vanzo started serving in February 1990, serving 14 years with Air Force Reserves. He served as an Air Transportation Specialist with 80th MAPS (Mobile Aerial Port Squadron) for 8 years, and ended his service with the Air Force Reserves as a Crash Fire Rescue Technician with the 94th CES (Civil Engineering Squadron).  

Lieutenant Vanzo then took a two year break from serving in the military to complete a paramedic degree through Lanier Technical College. He then started serving his country in 2006 when he joined the Georgia ARMY National Guard. While serving with the National Guard, Lieutenant Vanzo became a fully certified ARMY flight medic.

While serving with the Georgia National Guard, Lieutenant Vanzo served two tours of overseas duty as a flight medic with Georgia based MedEvac ARMY Companies. He served one tour in IRAQ in 2010-2011 during Operation New Dawn with C-Co. 1-111th Medical Company (Air Ambulance). Lieutenant Vanzo then served overseas again when he served in Afghanistan in 2011-2012 during Operation Enduring Freedom with C-Co. 1-169th Medical Company (Air Ambulance).

During his overseas tours, Lieutenant Vanzo was awarded several recognitions. This includes the following: National Defense Service ribbon (2nd device), Army Overseas Service Ribbon (2nd device), Iraq Campaign Ribbon, Afghanistan Campaign Ribbon, Army Meritorious Service Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Ribbon, Army Achievement Medal, and Army Air Medal (2nd device).He was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSG), and remains active with the Army National Guard today.

Lieutenant Vanzo started as a volunteer firefighter with Barrow County while working fulltime for Dekalb County Fire and Rescue Department. In August of 2002 he decided to go full time with Barrow County Emergency Services. Since joining the department he has worked his way up to being a Lieutenant on shift. Lieutenant Vanzo also became a paramedic with the department.

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