February 24, 2022
Chief Donald Blanton selected as JFRD's Firefighter of the Year.

Battalion Chief Don “Bubba” Blanton is this year’s recipient of the Dr. Robert F. Kiely Award.  Recipients of the Kiely Award have demonstrated an exemplary record of service and achievements throughout their fire service career.  They also have given selflessly in support of the department and their profession. 
 “I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award,” said Keith Powers, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department’s Director/Fire Chief.  “Chief Blanton has continuously given everything he has to this department and will leave it way better than he found it,” Powers added.
Blanton plans to retire this spring after 33 years of service to JFRD.
By department policy, the Firefighter of the Year is selected from either the recipient of the Joseph Stichway Award or the Robert F. Kiely Award.  Lieutenant Stichway died in the line of duty trying to save workers trapped in the hull of a burning oil barge at the Jacksonville Shipyards on May 25, 1979. Dr. Kiley served as JFRD’s Medical Director for 32 years until he succumbed to ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - Lou Gehrig's disease in 2016