Howard W. Rayon Distinguished Service AwardBack to homepage
The first FSTI Distinguished Service Award was presented to Chief Howard W. Rayon during the opening ceremonies of the 2009 CSFA Annual 87th Conference in Sacramento. A resolution was then presented naming the award in honor of his tremendous contributions, leadership, lifetime of achievements and dedication to the fire service. Howard was a significant influence in the development of FSTI and served as its corporate secretary until his death on 19 October 2009.
In 1971 Chief Rayon started his career with the US Forest Service in San Bernardino and later moved to Descanso where he was assigned to the newly formed Laguna Hot Shots. In January 1977 he moved to the Santee Fire Department where he received the Firefighter of the Year award in 1989. He retired in 2005 as deputy chief. Chief Rayon continued his career as a Type 1 Safety Officer on the California Interagency Incident Team 2.
In 1976 Chief Rayon graduated from the Western State University College of Law and held a Masters of Public Administration degree from San Diego State University. He graduated from the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program in 2002 and later joined the academy’s faculty. In 2003 Chief Rayon graduated from S-520 as a national IC candidate. He served on many large incidents including the “Old,” “Grand Prix” and “Zaca” fires as well as the La Conchita landslide and Hurricane Katrina.
Chief Rayon was a well-known labor attorney representing law enforcement and firefighters. He received an internship with the San Diego Metro Arson Strike Team and served as a liaison with the District Attorney’s Office assisting in the investigation and prosecution of over 400 fires.
Chief Rayon was very active in the Santee Firefighters’ Association and the California State Firefighters’ Association and a familiar instructor at the CSFA Employee-Employer Relations Seminars. In 2006 he was awarded California Fire Service Training Officer of the Year.
Chief Rayon was described by friends as a soft-spoken man – a true leader and model for the entire fire service. This award is a tribute of honor and respect to a man who truly gave it his all with no expectation of anything in return.
The second recipient of the award in 2010 was Chief Paul Stein during the CSFA 88th Annual Conference in San Diego. He was selected by Chief Rayon himself prior to his death. Additional recipients include Ronny J. Coleman – 2011, Bill Vandevort – 2012, Thomas Forster -2013, Michael T. Metro – 2014 and Dr. Denis Onieal – 2016.
Ronny J. Coleman, Dr. Denis Onieal, Paul Stein, Tom Forster, Bill Vandevort and Mike Metro