ECFR's Lt Nick Gradia (left) accepts the award as the 2021 Florida Professional Firefighter of the Year
ECFR's Lt Nick Gradia (left) accepts the award as the 2021 Florida Professional Firefighter of the Year | Image from Escambia County Community and Media Relations

ECFR’s Lt. Nick Gradia Honored as 2021 Florida Professional Firefighter of the Year

Escambia County Fire Rescue is proud to announce that Lt. Nick Gradia was recognized last week as the recipient of the 2021 Florida Professional Firefighter of the Year award presented by the Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Lt. Gradia will receive an individual resolution signed by Governor Ron DeSantis and members of the Cabinet at the Fire Service Awards held this fall.

“I am honored to have been selected as Florida’s Professional Firefighter of the Year for 2021,” said Lt. Gradia. “I feel that this recognition has been made possible because of the outstanding work the men and women of ECFR do everyday, and I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of what this organization continues to accomplish. I consider it a privilege to serve alongside my brothers and sisters from across the state.”

Lt. Gradia began his fire service career in 2004 as a volunteer with Escambia County Fire Rescue and transitioned to a full-time firefighter in 2008. During his professional career, he has risen through the ranks to become lieutenant. In his 18 years of fire service, Lt. Gradia has been involved in several events.

      • During his career, Lt. Gradia has been involved with local hurricane responses for Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and Hurricane Sally in 2020. He also deployed for Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Michael in 2018.
      • He has received two company citations for civilian rescues.
      • His love for service to his community and his fellow firefighters is undeniable and proven everyday as he provides emergency services to the Ferry Pass area as the company officer of E7 as well as being I.A.F.F. Local 4131 President for over nine years.
      • He is a sitting Fire Commissioner for the Pace Fire Rescue District where his priorities are to make sure the needs of the citizens are met, and the firefighters have the resources necessary to provide fire rescue services safely and efficiently.
      • He has been an integral part in assisting with the development of a Peer Support Team for ECFR as well as championing peer support training for the surrounding areas.
      • He is currently part of the Florida Professional Firefighters FRS Committee which is tasked with reviewing the retirement benefits for Florida Firefighter’s enrolled in the FRS.
      • Lt. Gradia just completed the Certified Public Managers Program through Florida State University and will graduate in July.
      • His commitment to saving lives and bettering his community makes him an outstanding recipient of this award.

“Anytime a member of the department is recognized for their work making the Fire Service better for all is a great day for the organization,” said ECFR Fire Chief Jason Catrambone. “We are proud of Lt. Gradia being named Florida Professional Firefighter of the Year.”

Lt. Gradia, along with other honorees, will also be recognized jointly at the Cabinet meeting at the Capitol in the fall. More details will be announced as the details become available.

“This is a tremendous honor for Lt. Gradia to receive this prestigious award,” said Public Safety Director Eric Gilmore. “Escambia County has a lot of pride in its fire service organization, and this is another example of the quality and professionalism you will find at Escambia County Fire Rescue. We are all very proud of him for being named the 2021 Florida Professional Firefighter of the Year.”

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