National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and Maglite honor the Harrisonburg, Virginia, Fire Department with National Firefighter Hero Award

Harrisonburg, Va., Fire Chief Ian Bennett, on behalf of all past and present members of the Harrisonburg Fire Department (HFD), will receive the Firefighter Hero Award in recognition of HFD’s Free Pizza for Fire Safety Program. The special celebration will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at the City’s Fire Station 1, 80 Maryland Ave., and will include members of HFD as well as representatives from NFFF and MAGLITE®.

 The department is receiving this recognition for its innovative and extremely successful smoke alarm program, where firefighters deliver a free pizza to residents in exchange for letting them perform a home fire-safety inspection. This program has led to the discovery and remedy of unsafe conditions including the replacement of batteries in smoke alarms, installation of new smoke alarms when none are present, and identification of other hazards.  Now in its 16th year, the program was started by Chief Larry Shifflett (ret.) and Life Safety Educator Wanda Willis (ret.). 

“This program goes a long way toward bringing our residents together with personnel dedicated to their health and safety, and we couldn’t be prouder of its impact in the community,” Harrisonburg City Manager Eric Campbell said.  “Not only does this program provide community risk reduction by getting as many working smoke alarms in homes as possible, but it allows us to make connections that will last a lifetime between residents and the Harrisonburg Fire Department.”

“We are so proud of the work that is being done by departments to educate our communities in fire prevention and help them to reduce the risk of tragedies,” said Chief Ronald Siarnicki, Executive Director of the NFFF. “We are grateful to MAGLITE for working with us so that more people will now know about the great efforts by the fire service to keep us all safe.”

The National Firefighter Hero program is a joint effort between MAGLITE® and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.  The program periodically honors single firefighters, groups or whole departments for extraordinary commitment to upholding excellence in firefighting and related activities.

 “Our commitment to our firefighters and other first-responders is part of our culture and history at Maglite and we will never waiver from it,” said Anthony Maglica, Founder and CEO of Mag Instrument Inc.  “This is why we are committed to supporting this program and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.  I am very happy to honor these true heroes with this award and a donation to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation in their name which will be permanently displayed on a brick at the National Fallen Firefighters Walk of Honor.”


About the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation:

The United States Congress created the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to lead a nationwide effort to honor and remember America's fallen firefighters.  Since 1992, the nonprofit Foundation has developed and expanded programs to honor fallen fire heroes, assist their families in rebuilding their lives, and reduce firefighter deaths and injuries. For more information on the NFFF and its programs visit