Reporter’s notebook: Firefighters honored at banquet

Lt. Ricky Mitchell of the Clovis Fire Department has worked over the years to foster strong working relationships, demonstrate a high level of competency as a firefighter and improve his skills as an Emergency Medical Technician assistant, his fire chief said.

In recognition of those traits, Mitchell was presented the fireman of the year award Saturday at the Fraternal Order of the Eagles banquet honoring area emergency service personnel.

“We completely caught him off guard,” police chief Ray Westerman said. “We had worked with his wife behind the scenes to make sure he was there.”

Mitchell joined the Clovis Fire Department in October of 1980.

“His efforts to establish and maintain strong working relationships is amazing, and he is a very tactful and considerate individual,” Westerman said. “The (Fraternal Order of the) Eagles firefighter of the year award was established to honor individuals who have outstanding abilities, character and integrity. Ricky Mitchell fits this description and more.”

As a lieutenant in the department, Mitchell oversees emergency fire service in about 20 percent of the city, Westerman said.

Ronnie Autrey of the Texico Fire Department was named volunteer fireman of the year. Texico fire chief Lewis Cooper said Autrey has demonstrated a willingness to cooperate with others and learn new skills since he joined the fire department in 1999.

“He’s dedicated to serve this community and this is how he chose to do it, through the Emergency Medical Services and the fire department,” Cooper said.

Reporter’s notebook was compiled by CNJ staff writer David Irvin. Suggested items may be mailed to managing editor Rick White at P.O. Box 1689, Clovis 88102. The e-mail address is: