Point/Plover MetroWire: Shankland honors Finn with "First Responder of the Year" award

By Patrick Lynn

Stevens Point Fire Chief Robert Finn has been honored as the First Responder of the Year in the 71st Assembly District.

Finn received the award from Rep. Katrina Shankland (Stevens Point) in the State Capitol on Tuesday, with his two assistant chiefs by his side.

Finn was honored alongside first responders from each State Assembly district at a Hometown Hero ceremony during the Assembly's legislative session on Oct. 26. 

Finn has been the chief at SPFD for seven years, though his career spans 45 years at various departments. He recently announced he would retire in January. 

"As he approaches his final months as fire chief of the Stevens Point Fire Department before retiring, this is an opportune time for us to recognize his accomplishments," Shankland said in a news release on Wednesday. "Chief Finn's significant contributions to the Stevens Point Fire Department will make a long-term difference in our community, region, and state."

Under Finn's watch, the department secured a dedicated training site at the city's former landfill and created the state's first ever State Certified Fire Investigator course. Working collaboratively with Mid-State Technical College and the Division of Criminal Investigation, Chief Finn helped establish the joint training grounds for fire investigation. 

"His vision for strengthening our community and state through investing in public safety is truly exceptional," Shankland added. "Throughout the years, I've also enjoyed working with him on statewide issues, including authorizing and passing Wisconsin's Community Paramedic law."

Finn was nominated for the award by his department, specifically Assistant EMS Chief Joe Gemza and Assistant Fire Chief J.B. Moody.