To Deputy Chief Anthony Avillo, North Hudson (NJ) Fire and Rescue, the Fire Engineering/George D. Post Instructor of the Year Award “represents the timeless tradition of passing the torch and making every effort to ensure that, on a daily basis, the business is a little better because you were there.” This is the responsibility of all members of the fire service, he adds.
The most recent of a distinguished line of “torch bearers,” Avillo will be presented with this prestigious award at the General Session on Thursday, April 19, 8:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m., in the Sagamore Ballroom of the Indiana Convention Center.
Avillo, who has been a fire service instructor since 1990, credits the influence of teachers, coaches, and instructors for his affinity for teaching. “I think the key to being an effective instructor is to be committed to what you are teaching–or don’t teach it,” he explains. “You have to have a passion for what you are trying to get across to the student. That makes you believable, which is the first step toward credibility. Living what you teach in a consistent manner is what cements that credibility.”
Avillo began the instruction segment of his career at the Bergen County (NJ) Fire Academy. He served as the training officer for the Weehawken (NJ) Fire Department and has been involved in numerous training programs with the North Hudson (NJ) Regional Fire and Rescue. He is also an instructor at the Monmouth County (NJ) Fire Academy and operates a company that trains firefighters and officers for promotion. He continues to enhance his instruction credentials and career. He is pursuing a master’s degree at New Jersey City University and looks forward to joining its fire science faculty. Additionally, Avillo has been teaching at the FDIC since 1999, and has been part of the staff of, in his words, the “world famous hands-on Truck Company Search.”
“I look forward to the FDIC each year not only for the great teaching opportunities and the camaraderie of old friends and new but just for the privilege of being in the company of the best people on earth,” Avillo says. “That electricity in the air, the nonstop activity, the beer-mug case studies, and the job-sharing stories make the week special and way too fast.”
He urges first-time attendees to get involved: “Go to everything you can, ask questions, be open to new friendships and new ways of thinking (network, network, network!),” he urges. “Most of all, have fun in the celebration of the great profession we have created and are all a part of. There is no one else like us on this planet.” Those who have never been to the FDIC, he adds, “have missed out on more than they will ever know–the opportunities for training; networking; becoming better at what they do; and, more importantly, the opportunity to bring home what they learned.”