2015 Public Educator of the Year (Volunteer/Paid-On-Call)

Public Educator of the Year (volunteer department): Pauline Williams

The 2015 Public Educator of the Year (volunteer) goes to Pauline Williams of the River Falls Fire Department in Pierce and St. Croix counties, where she has over 23 years of service.

An emergency room nurse by profession, Williams has lived in River Falls since she was a student at UW-River Falls. Williams has embraced fire prevention education since she joined the fire department. A former lieutenant and the department’s 1997 Firefighter of the Year, Williams current title is Fire Safety Education Officer.

In addition to her recognition at RFFD, Williams’ efforts have also received recognition in the community. The local American Legion post named her as an Outstanding Firefighter and City Administrator Scot Simpson praised her in a recent city news newsletter for her passion and for setting an example to others.

“Pauline has put together a prevention program that I believe is one of the best in the State of Wisconsin. Her program touches just about everyone in our community and beyond,” wrote Fire Chief Scott Nelson in nominating Williams for the WSFIA honor. “As chief, I could not ask for a better person to spearhead our prevention program.

While busiest during Fire Prevention Month in October, Nelson said Williams and her team keep busy with public education outreach throughout the year. The team includes several senior firefighters, who Nelson said have been able to extend their service to the department through their participation in the fire prevention program.

In accepting her award at the WSFIA Fire Prevention Professionals Conference, Williams gave thanks to her peers for their help in making the fire prevention education program a success.

“I simply look at myself as part of any great orchestra and any orchestra needs a conductor,” Williams said. “But the music doesn’t play without the musicians. I simply conduct and the guys who join me here tonight are the music that makes our safety program so phenomenal.”

Williams also noted her pride in the achievements and advances women have made in the fire service during the past quarter century.