Mayor Chris Beutler today presented the Mayor's Award of Excellence for April to Captain Jeffrey Hatcher of Lincoln Fire and Rescue (LFR). The monthly award recognizes City employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the City. The award was presented at today's City Council meeting.
Hatcher, who has been with LFR since 1986, was nominated in the categories of customer relations, loss prevention, productivity and safety for his organization of the Smoke Alarm Rallies and for his work to provide smoke alarms for deaf and hard of hearing residents of Lincoln. He was nominated by Jonathan Scherling, President of the Nebraska Association of the Deaf; Norm Weverka and Executive Director Dr. Peter Seiler from the Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing; and Firefighter Amber Wade.
Over the past year, Hatcher coordinated efforts to place 3,000 smoke alarms in the community. Grant funds were used to purchase the alarms for installation in areas determined to be at higher risk. Trained volunteers worked with firefighters to install the alarms at three rallies. Hatcher also contacted the Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and learned that more than 20,000 people in Lincoln may not have adequate warning of fire. Using federal grant funds, 200 homes received specialized systems with alarms that emit a strobe light, a low-frequency tone and a vibration.
Scherling said Hatcher is currently researching updated equipment for the hard of hearing. He wrote that Hatcher "is constantly working on the safety of human beings with passion." Seiler said the Commission has had requests from all over the nation for information on the program. He wrote, "We consider Captain Hatcher an ally to the deaf and hard of hearing communities for his sensitive awareness of their needs and concern for their collective safety." Weverka wrote, "The attention to an often ‘invisible' population given by Captain Hatcher should be commended. More Lincolnites can sleep easier knowing that they have effective fire protection in their homes."
The other category in which employees can be nominated is valor. Consideration also may be given to nominations that demonstrate self-initiated accomplishments or those completed outside of the nominee's job description. All City employees are eligible for the Mayor's Award of Excellence except for elected and appointed officials. Individuals or teams can be nominated by supervisors, peers, subordinates and the general public. Nomination forms are available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: personnel) or from department heads, employee bulletin boards or the Personnel Department, which oversees the awards program.
All nominations are reviewed by the Mayor's Award of Excellence Committee, which includes a representative with each union and a non-union representative appointed by the Mayor. Award winners receive a $100 U.S. savings bond, a day off with pay and a plaque. Monthly winners are eligible to receive the annual award, which comes with a $500 U.S. savings bond, two days off with pay and a plaque.