Iowa firefighter, Virginia sheriff honored at national convention
Firefighter of the Year Ryan Winkler. (Photo by Hilary Ott)

Iowa firefighter, Virginia sheriff honored at national convention

An Iowa firefighter and a Virginia county sheriff were honored Aug. 31 during The American Legion National Convention in Milwaukee.

Lt. Ryan T. Winkler, a member of the Clinton Fire Department in Iowa, was named the 2022 National Firefighter of the Year. He also volunteers as a first responder and training officer with the Charlotte Volunteer Fire Department in his hometown.

Winkler was cited for his bravery, which included his actions during a house fire on May 23, 2019.  Entering the window of a burning home, he found an unresponsive resident laying on the floor. Despite significant flames, Winkler and fellow members of his crew were able to rescue the victim – who would be hospitalized and ultimately survive his injuries.

Winkler has been a member of the Clinton Fire Department since 2009 and holds an associate’s degree in Fire Science from Kirkwood Community College.

“It is difficult for firefighters to accept awards as individuals. This is no different,” Winkler said. “The lives saved were not by me alone, could not have been saved by me alone. All my life I’ve been a part of various teams. Even when I was a young man I knew I wanted to be part of a team. The credit for this award goes to the teams I was a part of.”

The Legion’s 2022 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year was presented to Hanover Co. (Va.) Sheriff David R. Hines, who has more than 35 years of law enforcement experience. A graduate of the University of Richmond and the FBI’s National Academy, he was recognized by Virginia Governors Bob McDonnell and Terry McCauliffe for his service and expertise. He was appointed to the Governor’s Task Force on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuses, as well as the Governor’s Board of Juvenile Justice.

Hines, who was unable to accept his award in person, previously was selected as The American Legion Department of Virginia Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.