The Virginia Fire Chiefs Association today recognized Chesterfield County Fire Chief Edward “Loy” Senter Jr. with its highest honor, the Glenn A. Gaines Leadership Legacy Award. Senter accepted the award while attending the Virginia Fire Rescue Conference in Virginia Beach.
The award is named for former U.S. Fire Administrator and Fairfax County Fire Chief Glenn Gains, an icon in the fire-services industry. Senter was selected from a pool of nominees, which can include any current career or volunteer firefighter in Virginia.
Virginia Fire Chiefs Association President and Williamsburg Fire Chief Pat Dent said, “The Glenn A. Gaines Leadership Legacy Award recognizes an individual for their efforts to advance the fire service in the commonwealth. The award recipient exemplifies the integrity, commitment to excellence and leadership attributes portrayed by Chief Gains during his career. Having known Chief Senter for many years, he is certainly deserving of this recognition.”
Senter began his fire service at the age of 15 as a volunteer with the Chesapeake Beach Volunteer Fire Department. He would go on to serve with the Norfolk International Airport Fire Department and then the Norfolk City Fire Department, where he rose through the ranks over 17 years to become its chief. He has served as fire chief in Chesterfield County since 2008.
In selecting Senter, the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association cited his remarkable portfolio of far-reaching initiatives that have improved firefighter safety and well-being. Examples include a program to equip all firefighters with portable radios to improve communications; a comprehensive apparatus-replacement program that enabled the Chesterfield County Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department to update its fleet while meeting the latest safety standards; sponsoring a workgroup that established practices at the forefront of reducing firefighter exposure to toxins; sponsoring another workgroup that established procedures for improved safety for responders to traffic incidents; and an innovative program that sets mandatory fitness standards for firefighters and which Senter requires himself to meet. The association also noted Senter’s work to initiate the development of an active-shooter/high-threat procedure to improve safety and cooperation with law enforcement agencies during such incidents, and his work to introduce suicide-prevention and chaplain-support services programs. In addition, the selection panel noted Senter’s significant depth of experience across all areas of his field and his vast advisory and leadership skills, which he has demonstrated throughout his career, including among many appointed positions on related boards and commissions.
“Through his compassion for those in the fire-services industry and his unwavering commitment to serve others, Chief Senter has made an indelible mark, greatly enhancing the delivery and management of fire and emergency medical services in Chesterfield County, throughout Virginia and beyond,” said Dr. Joe Casey, Chesterfield County administrator. “His service and dedication have undoubtedly made Chesterfield and many other communities safer places for citizens and first responders.”
Senter accepted the award during a ceremony that is part of the 2017 Virginia Fire Rescue Conference. Sponsored by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association, the conference provides educational opportunities across the fire and emergency medical services areas. As a surprise, family members attended the ceremony to help recognize Senter, who was unaware he had been nominated. Chesterfield County Fire and EMS also received a Best Practices in Fire Service Health and Safety Award at the ceremony, recognizing the department’s work toward making the health and well-being of its members a priority through its Work Performance Evaluation program.