BROWNSBURG — In an emotional scene that saw tears shed and a new tradition begin, the Brownsburg Fire Territory awarded fallen firefighter David Schanz II with the Firefighter of the Year Award.
Schanz II was a third generation firefighter and his grandfather, Floyd, and father, David, accepted the award in his honor Saturday evening at the BFT building. Schanz lost his battle with cancer in November of 2012 at the age of 34. The award will be renamed in his honor and a mental attitude element will be added to the process of choosing the winner.
David Downey, fire chief for the Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue, flew in to be the keynote speaker for the event.
BFT Fire Chief William Brown said he had worked with Floyd and David Sr. and they had talked about preparing the next generation of firefighters
“Little did I know coming out here that David (II) was even a member of Brownsburg,” he said. “And of course once I got here is when he became sick. This was the committee’s idea and I felt very honored and privileged that they had the forethought to do this.
“Even today, when I look across my desk at the empty chairs, I think of David coming in the last few months and telling me he was sorry that he didn’t feel good. He just kept pushing and pushing all the way to the end not only because he wanted to get well, but because he wanted to come back. Even while he was going through all that chemo and treatments, he still wanted to give 110 percent back to the job. That’s what’s amazing about that young man.”
Out of respect for that dedication, he said the committee decided to rename the Firefighter of the Year Award to the David Schanz II Firefighter of the Year and Mental Attitude Award.