Rogers-Prairie Creek, AR, June 17, 2021- Chief John Whisenant of the Beaver Lake Fire Department, was presented with the prestigious E.W. Sewell Arkansas Fire Chief of the Year award on June 12, 2021. The award was presented to Whisenant for demonstrating exceptional contributions to the Arkansas Fire Service and to the community, while serving as Fire Chief.
In 2015 Chief improved the Beaver Lake Fire Department by requiring all officers to meet the National Fire Protection Associations training standards. Whisenant was not just able to add our department's first part-time firefighter, he updated our wildland apparatus, benefiting our communities safety. 2016 Chief Whisenant applied grant money as well as community donations to provide Beaver Lake Fire Department’s first rescue boat.
In 2016 Whisenant also introduced the department's first live-in program, improving guaranteed response capability. With the Chief’s accomplishments and acquired certifications, he was selected to be a part of the International Fire Training Associations (IFSTA) Marine Firefighting for Land-Based Firefighters third edition review committee.
Year 2017 Chief Whisenant was able to start our community's first locally based ambulance service, which provides a volunteer basic life support service. Whisenant was also able to lead the department from an Insurance Service Office rating 6 to rating 4, improving the local homeowners insurance rates. He dedicated his efforts for 2017 to improving not only the Beaver Lake Fire Department, but 9 surrounding fire departments by bringing in national instructors for Situational Awareness Courses. Chief John Whisenant was selected to be an ambassador for the Fire Rescue International Leadership conference.
In 2018 Chief John Whisenant invested his time and effort in improving personal and Beaver Lake Fire Departments credentials. He was able to obtain his Certified Fire Executive (CFE) credential, through the Texas Fire Chiefs Association. Chief Whisenant arranged a Women's Leadership Lunch and Learn, bringing the Mesa Fire Chief as a guest speaker for firefighters throughout the Northwest Arkansas Community. 2018 Chief Whisenant was a recipient of an International Association of Fire Chiefs-Volunteer and Combination Officers Sections training scholarship for symposium in the west. Chief John Whisenant was able to negotiate with Mercy EMS to co-operate an advanced life support ambulance service. The negotiation led to first of its kind, private/fire-based EMS service for our region, providing a local 24/7 staffed ambulance. With the department’s growth, Whisenant was able to hire three full time firefighter/EMS employees for the Beaver Lake Fire Department. 2019 Chief John Whisenant dedicated more than 350 hours into earning both Arkansas Governmental Manager and Certified Public Manager (CPM) credentials from Arkansas Public Administration Consortium. 2019 Chief obtained two educational scholarships for Department personnel, one being the first firefighter rank to be awarded this scholarship since the scholarships inception a decade earlier.
In 2019 Chief Whisenant took the time to author a capstone paper for CPM addressing PTSD in the fire service, one of three papers nominated for the Top Project Award. Along with his recent State Chiefs Award, Chief Whisenant continued education in 2020, which led to him to receive the title Certified Public Manager with Excellence designation for 2021 through Arkansas Public Administration Consortium.
“John exhibits a high degree of professionalism to commitment, which I’ve seen firsthand as a neighboring fire chief… H e is a determined individual who doesn’t talk about results – instead he works to produce them.” -Tom C. Jenkins, BS, MS, CFO, CEMSO, EFO Fire Chief, City of Rogers (AR)
“As a former state senator and retired family physician I have worked with few individuals with the competence, confidence, and character that Chief Whisenant possesses. He has transformed our department from an all-volunteer force with one full-time employee to a combination fire and emergency services department with five full-time employees, twenty-four part-time employees and ten volunteers.” -John Redwine, President of the Board
The Beaver Lake Community and the Beaver Lake Fire Department are honored to announce Chief John Whisenant as the official recipient of E.W. Sewell Arkansas Fire Chief of the Year award, for his hard work and dedication to the improvement of our community.