Post honors local first-responders for service

GREENFIELD — Members of the American Legion Post 119 Monday handed out awards to local first-responders they believe exemplified community service and embodied the title of “Hometown Hero.”

Here is a brief biography of each of the recipients:

Firefighter of the Year: Bryan Marr, Greenfield Fire Territory

Bryan Marr’s buddies of the fire department lovingly call him the “Ivy League firefighter.”

The native of New York has a degree in animal science from Cornell University and spent the first half of his career working for companies including Eli Lilly and Covance.

He got his first taste for the public service in 2007 while working for Covance’s in-house fire service team. He became a volunteer firefighter for Green Township in 2008 and switched careers in 2011 to become a full-time firefighter for the Greenfield Fire Territory.

Marr said his goal every day is to help those in need. The tougher moments on the job are made easier by the powerful and passionate camaraderie that runs deep in the local public safety family. He loves the interactions being a firefighter allows him to have with the community.

Marr lives in Greenfield with his wife, Amy, and their 5-year-old twins.

Police Officer of the Year: Capt. Brian Guinn, Greenfield Police Department

Brian Guinn decided to become a police officer when he was 18 years old. He was a senior at Eastern Hancock High School at the time, and he recognized police work as a respectable career that came with great responsibility.

He knew he wanted to return to Hancock County after college, to live in and raise a family in the place that he’d always called home. A job in law enforcement afforded him the opportunity to give back to the community that raised him, he said.

Guinn has spent every day of his nearly 30-year career working for the Greenfield Police Department. He joined its ranks as a reserve in 1989 after graduating from Vincennes University. He became a full-time patrol officer in 1990. Now, he’s the captain of the road patrol division and the department’s chief firearms and driving instructor.

He lives in Greenfield with his wife, Stephanie, and their two children.

EMS of the Year: Assistant Chief RJ Beaver, Greenfield Fire Territory

A blurb in the newspaper seeking volunteer firefighters inspired RJ Beaver to change careers.

The Greenfield native spent 10 years in truck-driving and manufacturing jobs before ever wearing a firefighter’s turnout gear or a paramedic’s uniform. He joined the Greenfield Fire Territory in 2000 as a volunteer and became a certified EMT in 2001. He attended paramedic training at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital two years later and joined the department full time in 2003.

A decade of hard work helped him rise to the top of the department’s ranks: he now works as an assistant chief, overseeing the department’s EMTs and all emergency medical services it offers.

After 17 years on the job, he still feels an adrenaline rush with each call that comes in, Beaver said.

“It’s a wild ride, … but I wouldn’t change it for the world,” he said.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.