Wolfforth fire chief wins national award

It was about three years ago that Fred Windisch, chief of the Ponderosa Fire Department near Houston, met Wolfforth Fire Chief Charles Addington.

“He immediately impressed me with his breadth of knowledge of not only fire and EMS services, but life in general,” Windisch said. “I think what amazes me about him is his energy.”

Windisch rattled off a long list of things that Addington is involved in, including his medical practice, ranching, showing cattle with his children and other activities.

“His list of things are just … It’s pretty amazing,” Windisch said.

It was Addington’s accomplishments and leadership that led Windisch to nominate Wolfforth’s fire chief and mayor for the John M. Buckman III Award, which is given by the Volunteer and Combination Officer Association of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

The John M. Buckman III Leadership Award recognizes a chief officer of a volunteer or combination fire department who stands out as a true professional who has demonstrated leadership, integrity and outstanding values within the fire service, according to the Volunteer and Combination Officers Section website at www.iafc.org.

In early November, Addington traveled to Clearwater Beach, Fla., where he received the national award. Chris Addington, Lance Hamilton, Lance Barrett and Mike Hendricks went with him to represent the department.

“I’m really excited that Charles got this award, because it’s a peer recognition, for what he’s accomplished and continues to accomplish,” Windisch said.

The Ponderosa fire chief said Addington is also a very nice person, a family man and a cowboy.

“He must be on steroids. That’s the only thing I can figure,” Windisch joked about Addington’s energy level.

Wolfforth City Manager Darrell Newsom said he was asked to write a letter of recommendation for Addington, and was also interviewed by phone about the fire chief.

“I focused primarily on how many different things he does at the city,” Newsom said. But he said he also brought out the extensive amount of education and training that Wolfforth’s firefighters receive, largely due to Addington’s leadership.

Newsom said Addington didn’t say much about winning the award.

“He hasn’t tooted his own horn too much about it around here. We kind of had to dig it out of him as to what’s going on,” the city manager said.

But the 50-pound trophy given to Addington is on display now in City Hall, Newsom sid.

Addington’s trip to Florida was paid for by a corporate sponsor of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Newsom said, while the Wolfforth firefighters who accompanied him paid for their own trips to support him.

Newsom said the award shows Addington’s dedication and personal efforts, noting that the fire chief does not get paid for his service.

“Believe it or not, that’s what he does for fun. But it’s nice to be recognized nationally for what he does put into it,” Newsom said.

For his part, Addington said winning the national award left him dumbfounded.

“I guess I’ve done a few things” that people thought were good, he said.

He said he didn’t really want a lot of attention about the award, but he said Wolfforth residents could take heart in it anyway because it shows that the city has first-rate people.

“The people that run this city are educated and have a quest to make things better,” Addington said. “There are people in town that are still trying to do good things and trying to be involved on a leadership way.”

Addington said a need to serve and a need to help others was what initially drew him to join the Wolfforth

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