Christiansburg Volunteer Fire Department’s Chief William “Billy” Hanks accepted the Governor’s Virginia Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year award at the annual Virginia Fire and Rescue Conference in Virginia Beach on Feb. 24.
Chief Hanks has served as a member of the Christiansburg Volunteer Fire Department since 1981, holding positions as a firefighter, engineer, lieutenant and training officer before becoming chief in 2009. For the past eight years, he has also served as the town’s fire marshal and emergency services coordinator. Chief Hanks, who is a paid employee of the Town, currently oversees 40 volunteers and one other paid employee. He received the Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year award because he manages an almost entirely volunteer department.
“Receiving this award is one of the top highlights of my entire career, and I couldn’t be more honored,” Chief Hanks said. “I’m in very good company because my counterparts across the state are very impressive and have my highest respect, so to be recognized in this manner is still a shock and something I will always treasure.”
Chief Hanks is a tireless advocate for fire safety and emergency preparedness in Christiansburg and is committed to providing residents with the highest levels of customer service and professionalism. He established a deputy fire marshal position and program in 2014 in order to ensure all businesses within Town are inspected annually. He also helps organize Christiansburg’s annual fire prevention parade to educate children about fire safety. Additionally, he is a founding member of the New River Valley Emergency Communications Regional 9-1-1 Authority’s Technical Advisory Committee and serves on the Board of Directors for the Authority. He also established a working Emergency Operation Center for the Town of Christiansburg in 2010.
Chief Hanks is involved with several professional firefighter associations including the Virginia Fire Services Council, Virginia State Firefighters Association, Virginia Fire Chiefs Association, the Southwest Virginia Firefighters Association, the Virginia Fire Prevention Association, Virginia Association of Hazardous Materials Response Specialists, and Virginia’s chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators. He served as president of the Southwest Virginia Firefighters Association from 1995 to 1996 and is currently the scholarship committee’s chair.
According to the Virginia Department of Fire Programs’ website, criteria for the award is a “paid or volunteer fire chief that exhibits leadership, innovation, professional development, integrity, along with superior service to the public and a high level of contributions to the fire service as a whole.”
Chief Hanks is a lifelong resident of Christiansburg.