Robert Boutillier, First Assistant Chief, Bestowed With The 2019 Michael Sadden Lifetime Achievement Award
By NEJFD Executive Director Steven C. Small
October 12, 2019

On Wednesday, October 9, 2019, Webster's First Assistant Chief Robert Boutillier was bestowed with the 2019 Michael Sadden Lifetime Achievement Award. This extremely prestigious award was presented at the Joint Fire Service Leadership of Monroe County Annual Firefighter Appreciation Dinner held at the Burgundy Basin Inn. Everyone at the Webster Volunteer Fire Department and North East Joint Fire District send our sincerest congratulations to Chief Boutillier and we are all very proud of him and his honorable achievements.

Below is the submitted award application and the requirements to be considered for the Michael Sadden Lifetime Achievement Award.


Rob Boutillier, First Assistant Chief of the Webster Volunteer Fire Department and North East Joint Fire District

Rob joined the Wester Volunteer Fire Department in October 1977 after graduating Webster Schroeder High School. Rob’s ties run deep in the community as he has been a life-long resident of Webster. In October 1977 Rob joined the fire department as a volunteer firefighter, quickly being elected to the position of Captain in 1981 as there were no Lieutenants roles on the roster. To put things into perspective, in the beginning of Robs 42 year career, there were no cell phones, Minitor or alpha pagers, and the computer was just making its debut. Firefighters were alerted of an alarm by home receivers or the fire station house siren mounted to the roof. Rob’s family could attest to his level of commitment as he would lug the home receiver from his residence to his parents, never wanting to miss a job. In the mid-1980’s Rob recalls a house fire on Penfield Center Rd. In the 80’s it was not common to have a portable radio issued to you. Shortly after issuing portable radios to the Webster Line Officers, Webster was dispatched to a house fire. Rob and past Fire Chief Bill Southwell arrived to find fire self-venting from a 2-story wood frame private dwelling. Not wanting to lose or damage his newly issued radio, Rob traded his radio with a Sheriffs Deputy for a flashlight. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, without an airpack or protection of a handline, Rob ascended to the second story where he rescued a male in his underwear in the middle of winter safely removing him from the structure. After serving as Captain for almost 7 years, Rob was elected to the Second Assistant Chief position in 1988 and then First Assistant in 1989 as the department faced an untimely resignation from Rob’s predecessor. Rob served with dignity and honor as the First Assistant Chief until his election to the position of Fire Chief in 1990. In 1992 Rob joined the Monroe County Hazardous Materials Response Team as a HazMat Technician serving the team for nearly 15 years in 2007. Some of Rob’s most memorable incidents include the tractor trailer carrying gasoline that rolled over and caught fire near Rt390 by the Hampton Inn and the Mass Casualty Incident in Brockport where fumes sickened dozens of residents of a nursing home. Rob served the HazMat team as the Deputy Coordinator (Car823) eventually working his way to the Executive Deputy Coordinator, a part-time paid position at the Fire Bureau. As a result of the tragedies of 9/11, Rob and his (2) counterparts we assigned to a special task force that responded to over 600 Anthrax reported incidents, where he selflessly put himself in harm’s way testing over 350 suspicious powders. Rob was awarded the Civilian Service Award, a commendation by the FBI Director for his public safety efforts on behalf of Monroe County. Rob loved having car numbers and talking on the radio (Radio Rob). At one point in Rob’s career, he was assigned car numbers 823, 849, and 8315. Rob has proven to be the epitome of a public safety professional. In 1997 Rob was appointed under Mike Fantagrossi, Fred Keller and Jim Rothfuss as the first civilian county fire investigator. Through an on-call schedule, Rob determined origin and cause for 35 different fire departments in Monroe County as requested. As if that wasn’t enough, upon completion of his (2) year service to the community as Fire Chief Rob has since re-established himself in the line being elected to various command positions from 2000-2012 as the department’s needs presented. As many of us in the room are faced with the declining number of volunteers, Webster proved to be no exception. In 2016 the department found themselves again without a qualified candidate for Second Assistant Chief, where Rob stepped up to fulfill a gap in the command structure. Robs sacrifice did not end there, as he continues his tenure as First Assistant Chief (1C20) and plans to again take the reigns as Fire Chief in 2020.

As Rob served the residents in the fire department, the bills needed to be paid. In 1989 after successfully passing the civil service exam for Fire Marshal, Rob was appointed to the position. Rob served the residents of Webster as the Fire Marshal from 1989-2019, a milestone of a career. To try and summarize the number of inspections or lives that Rob has come in contact with throughout his tenure is insurmountable. The Fire Marshals responsibilities allowed Rob to develop fire prevention programs for schools and businesses alike. Rob started programs such as meet a fireman and meet a hometown hero, where residents were able to meet the firefighters in the Webster community before an emergency occurred. Rob fostered relationships from the impressionable years where kids were taught fire and home safety, to the elderly population where general fire safety, evacuation skills, and through his compassionate nature Rob was able to ease their minds when firefighters were advising residents to shelter in place to keep themselves safe.

As if Rob hasn’t dedicated enough of his life to emergency services, Rob raised both his children Rachel and Brandon as residents in the Webster community. Rob currently lives in the town with his wife Kathleen and his step-daughter Allie and step-son Steven. The true loves in Robs heart lies with his grandchildren Shalyen, Lennon, Avery, Ava, Connor and Zachary.

It should be noted that the Webster Fire Departments Joseph Enderlin was the 4th recipient of the Michael Sadden award. Rob and Joe have shared a special bond through their careers in the fire service. Joe was the “old timer” of the Webster Fire Department. Joe and Rob hit it off from day one. Like Rob, Joe’s life was committed the fire service. For over 20 years, Joe served the Fire Bureau as Car811, the Assistant 1st Battalion Coordinator, now referred to as a Deputy Fire Coordinator. Joe and Steve Wright have been Rob’s mentors throughout his career, to which we each of these men a token of appreciation.

It is with a humble heart and great gratitude that we present the Michael Sadden award to Rob Boutillier, First Assistant Chief of the Webster Volunteer Fire Department and North East Joint Fire District for his undying devotion and commitment to the safety of the residents of the town and village of Webster as well as his pledge to public safety of Monroe County as a whole.


Joint Fire Services Leadership of Monroe County

1. This document shall set forth the criteria for the selection of the recipient of the Joint Fire Service
Leadership's Michael Sadden Award at the Annual Firefighters Appreciation Dinner. It is intended
that this will serve as a guideline for the Selection Committee, without causing any harm or
injustice to anyone; past, present or future.

2. Any member of the Joint Fire Service Leadership or a fire department may recommend a candidate
for the Michael Sadden Award. Such recommendation shall be in writing and contain a brief
statement on why the particular person has been recommended for this award. 'I'he
recommendations shall be addressed to:

Chairman, Awards Committee
Joint Fire Service Leadership of Monroe County
1190 Scottsville Road, Suite 203
Rochester, NY 14624

Only those recommendations received during the same calendar year as the Award Dinner and
received at least sixty (60) days prior to the date of the dinner need be considered for the award for
that year.

3. The Awards Committee shall process all recommendations duly received, and shall make the final
determination as to the qualifications and merits of each individual so recommended. Based on this
review, the Awards Committee shall select the nominee(s).

4. The basic guidelines for the selection of a recipient for the Michael Sadden Award shall be as

a. Nothing herein requires the issuance of an award for any particular year. Nothing herein
shall prevent the presentation of the award to a member of either sex. Nothing herein shall
prevent the awarding of this Michael Sadden Award posthumously.
b. That the recipient has shown and continues to show a dedicated interest in the fire services.
That the recipient is or has been a member of the fire service, paid or volunteer, and
continues to show dedicated interest.
c. The Michael Sadden Award is intended to recognize exemplary conduct and performance
of an individual over an extended period of time, rather than highlighting one particular act
of heroism, for which awards have been established.
d. That the recipient has contributed of his or her time and efforts to the fire service in a
significant way, well above that required by either his or her vocation or avocation, to the
extent that he or she stands out among his or her fellows firefighters and/or predecessors in
connection with the accomplishments he or she has made in the furtherance of the fire
service. Such contribution may be in the form of, but not limited to:
1) Welfare on behalf of firefighters.
2) Improvements placed into effect of firefighting equipment.
3) Expert administration of firefighting operations.
4) Promotion of firefighter safety.
5) Drafting and/or promotion of laws and/or systems developed for the improvement
of firefighting operations.
6) Promotion of fire prevention.

5. These criteria may be amended from time to time in accordance with the following procedure:
a. Any member of the Awards Committee and any officer of the Joint Fire Service Leadership
may submit a proposal, in writing, to the chairperson of the Awards Committee, requesting
a change in these criteria and stating the reasons for the change.
b. The Awards Committee Chairperson shall appoint an Ad Hoc Committee to review the
proposal and present a proposed revised criteria to the Joint Fire Services Leadership of
Monroe County for approval as in five above.

Attachment Awards Program 100919.pdf  (13,124k)