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Congratulations on a job well done!


Governor's Award


City of lynchburg fire department

Lynchburg Fire Department’s “Walk-About Wednesday” is a Community Risk Reduction (CRR) initiative collaboratively created by the CRR team in the Lynchburg Fire Marshal’s Office and the University of Lynchburg Bonner Program aimed at enhancing community safety and well-being. Key features of the program include going door-to-door with CRR and fire department staff in targeted neighborhoods to provide emergency preparedness information along with installing smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and changing alarm batteries. It should be noted that there was no fiscal impact to the citizens as all materials used were supplied by local business partners. In addition, the program organically created opportunities for stakeholder support as the program grew in popularity. This initiative is a forward-thinking, proactive approach to a traditional challenge. It combines community engagement, data-driven risk assessment, and education to create a safer and more resilient community. 


NFPA Award

2023 NFPA Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year

Jessica Xenakis
Virginia Beach Fire Department

June 19, 2023 – The National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®) has announced that Jessica Xenakis is the recipient of the Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year Award for 2023. Ms. Xenakis received her award at the Stars at Night awards gala held on June 18th, in Las Vegas, as part of the annual NFPA Conference and Expo.

Ms. Xenakis currently serves as the Fire and Life Safety Education Coordinator for the Virginia Beach Fire Department (VBFD). With over a decade of instructional experience, she has been instrumental in transforming fire and life safety education within her community since joining VBFD in 2019.

Each year, NFPA presents this award to a dedicated educator who is employed by a local fire department or fire marshal’s office in the U.S. or Canada. The recipient of this award consistently and creatively utilizes NFPA’s materials and demonstrates exceptional innovation in reaching out to the community to address their evolving fire safety needs.

Ms. Xenakis was recognized for successfully launching a comprehensive virtual learning resource,, and for developing the innovative "Safety Squad" program. This interactive fire and injury prevention curriculum seamlessly aligns with Virginia's Standards of Learning and NFPA’s Educational Messages Advisory Committee Desk Reference.

As a respected figure in her field, Ms. Xenakis also serves as a contract instructor in Youth Firesetting Prevention and Intervention at the National Fire Academy. Earlier this year, Ms. Xenakis was honored with the 2023 Virginia Governor’s Award of Excellence in Community Risk Reduction, underscoring her pivotal role in promoting community safety.

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Governor's Award


Jessica Xenakis,
Virginia Beach Fire Department

Jessica Xenakis is a Life Safety Education Supervisor with the Virginia Beach Fire Department. Since joining Virginia Beach Fire Department, Jessica has incorporated her teaching expertise into the creation of a new virtual learning resource ( She also created the VBFD Safety Squad Program, an interactive station-based fire and injury prevention curriculum. The Safety Squad program uses methods of delivery that engage the students to participate in learning risk reduction. In addition, during the COVID-19 pandemic, she created and utilized virtual learning resources to provide education to at-risk youths who misused fire. As the Youth Fire Prevention & Intervention Program Manager for VBFD, Xenakis continues to improve educational processes and develop solid working relationships with at-risk youth and their families. She has also expanded the Community Risk Reduction program offerings to residents in the City of Virginia Beach which includes providing a Child Passenger Safety Seat program and helps increase the number of Child Passenger Safety Technicians in the Commonwealth of Virginia as a certified instructor for Child Passenger Safety Technicians through Safe Kids Worldwide. 

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Governor's Award

Frances Thompson is a fire service professional dedicated to exploring and improving prevention options for community risk reduction. With over 12 years of hands-on experience in school systems teaching and learning with students of all ages, Frances brings the perspective and understanding of a seasoned, classroom teacher to the world of public safety prevention education. She is a pioneering authority in the usage of digital technology in fire and life safety education and was awarded the Governor’s 2016 Virginia Fire Service Award for Excellence in Virginia Community Risk Reduction. Currently, Frances is the chairperson of the Tidewater Fire Educator Network, an active member of the Virginia Fire and Life Safety Coalition and proudly works as a public educator for the Hampton Division of Fire and Rescue.

Fran Thompson

Shining Star

Fred X. Turck has 38 years of professional experience with the Virginia Department of Forestry. Began work with the DOF as a Forester in Prince Edward County, moved to Sussex County and then was promoted to a District Forester working in the Waverly Region. For the last 20 years has been a member of the DOF Central Office Resource Protection Division. As an Assistant Director of the Protection Division his program areas include Wildfire Prevention and Education, Prescribed Fire and Wildland Urban Interface/Firewise coordination.

A graduate of Syracuse University/NY State Ranger School and Virginia Tech. Professional accomplishments include writing the legislation which became law establishing Virginia’s Certified Prescribed Burn Managers Program and several agency informational documents. He serves on several committees, including the National Wildfire Coordinating Groups Communication, Education and Prevention Committee.



Fred is only the 3rd person to have been nationally recognized with Bronze, Silver and Gold Smokey Bear Award, in addition he has been honored to receive the VA Governors Fire Service Award for Fire Prevention,  the Southern Regions Browning award and the Northeast McNamara Award, and now the Shining Star Award from the Virginia Fire and Life Safety Coalition . He has published several articles in various magazines and other publications. Fred is nationally recognized for his work with firewise and wildfire prevention and has helped established Virginia as a leader in this area.

Fred Turck

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