Nokomis firefighter Wayne Kinnally receives Lifetime Achievement Award at state convention
For the Tomahawk Leader
LA CROSSE – A longtime member of a local fire department was recognized for his years of service during the Wisconsin State Firefighters Association’s annual convention this past weekend.
Wayne Kinnally, who has served with the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department for 45 years, was awarded the Charles B. Conway Lifetime Achievement Award during the convention, held in La Crosse on Saturday, March 11.
Kinnally’s wife, Linda, and their family, including their four grandchildren, were in attendance as Kinnally was given the award, named after Charles B. Conway, a Navy veteran and longtime fire service contributor, firefighter and chief officer with the New Berlin Fire Department. Conway passed away in 2010.
Kinnally was nominated for the award by members of the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department, and his nomination was supported by letters from local citizens, town officials and other public safety office holders who noted his leadership skills, knowledge and passion for the fire service, the Nokomis Fire Department said.
In his nomination, members of the department noted Kinnally’s many accomplishments at the local, county, regional and state levels.
A five-time recipient of the Nokomis Fire Department’s Member of the Year award, Kinnally served as Fire Chief from 1993 to 2016. He also served in several officer roles over the years and has been a fire instructor at Nicolet College in Rhinelander for more than three decades.
In the early 1990s, Kinnally helped start the Nokomis Emergency Medical Responder Program, and Kinnally’s efforts led to the construction of a new fire station in 2002.
Kinnally worked to improve the Nokomis Fire Department’s insurance class rating, lowering property insurance premiums in the township.
Thanks to Kinnally’s efforts, a partnership with Oneida County EMS led to the placement of a paramedic ambulance in Nokomis.
Kinnally assisted in getting approval for and implementing the MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System) in Oneida County and currently serves as MABAS Division 114 president. He also currently serves as a member of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Division of Forestry’s Fire Department Advisory Council.
As a member of the Chippewa Valley Chapter of the Society for the Preservation and Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus in America (SPAAMFAA), Kinnally has made significant contributions to the organization’s ongoing projects to preserve and share the legacy and history of the fire service. Kinnally owns two antique fire engines – a 1930 Pirsch and a 1947 Pirsch.
In his acceptance speech, Kinnally noted that the honor was “totally unexpected,” as he did not know he had been nominated until he received notice that he had been chosen for the award several weeks ago.
Kinnally also said it seems like only yesterday when he was going on his first calls or teaching his first class.
“What they say is true – if you enjoy what you do, it doesn’t seem like work,” he stated.
Kinnally thanked his family for understanding the times he had meetings or calls that took him away from home, and closed by encouraging those in attendance to “Stay safe and make sure you enjoy what you do every day.”