GRFD Chief Knapp wins prestigious fire officer award
July 21, 2017
Roberto A. Jackson
Gila River Indian News
The Gila River Fire Department had plenty to celebrate at the Arizona Fire Service 2017 Leadership Conference, a joint conference of the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association (AFCA) and the Arizona Fire District Association (AFDA).
GRFD Chief Thomas Knapp won the AFCA’s Chief Fire Officer of the Year award during the opening session at Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hotel & Spa on July 11. Knapp, with his over 35 years of fire and emergency service experience, was humbled by the honor and credited the people who helped shape his career. “I’ve worked with incredible people, I’ve had incredible mentors,” said Knapp.
Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis, recognized Knapp in a statement saying Knapp’s award was a memorable day for Chief Knapp and the Gila River Indian Community.
“This recognition bestowed upon Chief Knapp is well deserved for his dedication, leadership, and commitment in making our Community safer and having our fire department become a highly trained and professional department. It’s been through Chief Knapp’s vision and leadership that the men and women of our fire department can be proud of a job well done.”
In his acceptance speech Knapp, who has been Fire Chief since 2010, credited the Gila River Indian Community for giving him the chance to have success. “And finally to the Gila River Indian Community for allowing me the opportunity to perform what I love, to do my job as a fire chief with a great staff.”
Knapp said that GRFD takes approximately 6,500 calls a year from 4 stations that cover about 600 square miles.
Knapp has developed several programs within GRIC including the Fire Prevention Bureau, Fire Arson Team, a Management Intern Program, mentorship program and career development opportunities. He is also a board member for several organizations including the AFCA, on which he serves as the Tribal Nations Section Chair and Vice President of the Native American Fire Chief’s Association.
Chief Knapp has been instrumental in improving GRFD’s operations and partnerships with its Maricopa and Pinal County partners, as well as improving relationships between Native American fire agencies and others in Arizona.
“We’ve had a good impact on not only tribal fire departments but statewide,” said Knapp.