Close this search box.

Maryland State


Chief A. Marvin Gibbons Memorial Award

Award Purpose:

Best appearing company in the MSFA Convention Parade.

Award Sponsor:

Hillandale Volunteer Fire Department, Incorporated – Montgomery County, Maryland

Award Administration:

Award Description:

In memory of Chief A. Marvin Gibbons, Past President of the Maryland State Firemen’s Association (MSFA) and a man whose impact on the fire service was felt nationwide, the Hillandale Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. (Montgomery County, Maryland) with the foreknowledge and endorsement of the MSFA Executive Committee and the Gibbons family, shall sponsor the annual A. Marvin Gibbons Memorial Award for the best-appearing company in the MSFA Convention  Parade.

Starting with the 1992 MSFA Convention, a trophy will be awarded by the parade judges at the regular award ceremony following the parade will be presented to the best-appearing company for their edification and personal safekeeping until the following MSFA Annual Convention. During the opening ceremony, the trophy will be formally surrendered to the Convention Chairperson, who will then present a permanent award to the surrendering company. The trophy will then remain on display until it is re-awarded.

The perpetual trophy and permanent award will be provided by the Hillandale Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. (Montgomery County) in memory of our brother, Chief A. Marvin Gibbons, who served with profound distinction for forty-two years in many capacities, including President and Fire Chief.

Because Marvin was the driving force behind the annual MSFA Convention Parade and because he choreographed the opening ceremony of our convention it was universally felt that this award, having an impact upon both the annual parade and opening ceremony, would be a fitting tribute and memorial to this great man.

The award shall be presented to the company which, in the sole opinion of the parade judges, presents the best overall appearance considering such factors as the number of and composition of units, number of personnel in uniform, decorum, demeanor, and esprit de corps.

Chief A. Marvin Gibbons

Arthur Marvin Gibbons was born on April 14, 1927 in Washington, D.C. For over forty-two years, Chief Gibbons made significant and lasting contributions to the fire service of his community, Montgomery County, the State, and the Nation.

In his community, Marvin joined the Hillandale Volunteer Fire Department in 1948 and served as Fire Chief for sixteen years and as President for four terms. In 1961, he was named Montgomery County “Fireman of the Year”.

At the county level, Marvin worked enthusiastically for “Bill 1” which established a seven member Executive Committee of the Montgomery County Fire Board. This committee developed policy for the fire and rescue services of Montgomery County. Chief Gibbons served as Chairperson or Vice Chairperson of the Fire Board for fourteen years. During his tenure, he spearheaded the movement of establish the county’s Length of Service Awards Program (LOSAP). This program was the first of its type to recognize the service of volunteer fire and rescue personnel and has spread throughout our nation.

Also while Chairperson of the Fire Board, Marvin helped to established the Heart Mobil which was the forerunner to the current Paramedic Program. In addition, he was personally involved with the building of the Public Safety Training Academy. Chief Gibbons hired the first Training Officer, the late Warren Isman and hired the first Director of the Department of Fire and Rescue Services. Chief David B. Gratz. Both of these individuals went on to become known internationally in the fire service community.

When Chief Gibbons recognized that Montgomery County lacked adequate mutual aid agreements, he attacked the problem. He used his common sense and uncommon persuasive abilities to forge the mutual aid agreements that now exist among all metropolitan area jurisdictions.

Upon retiring from the Fire Board, Chief Gibbons was elected Chairperson Emeritus. Chief Gibbons also served as President of the Montgomery County Fire/Rescue Association.

At the state level, Chief Gibbons, for many years, worked tirelessly for the MSFA Convention, organizing the parade, choreographing the opening ceremonies, and serving as both Vice Chairperson and Chairperson of the Convention Committee. In 1977 Marvin was elected President of the MSFA. Following his tenure as President, Chief Gibbons continued his work with the Association on numerous committee. In 1981, Chief Gibbons was elected to the “Hall of Fame.”

His efforts just prior to his death were more national in scope. Chief Gibbons was instrumental in establishing a National Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial erected at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland. This memorial, and the annual ceremony which recognizes those individuals who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their fellow citizens, was truly one of Marvin’s proudest achievements. In 1990, Chief Gibbons was honored with an award for outstanding service from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for his work in overseeing the design and construction of the Memorial.

Chief Gibbons held honorary memberships in the following organizations: Burtonsville Volunteer Fire Department, Montgomery County; Chillum-Adelphi Volunteer Fire Department, Prince George’s County; Damascus Volunteer Fire Department, Montgomery County; Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company, Worcester County; Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department, Montgomery County; Upper Montgomery Volunteer Fire Department, Montgomery County; Wheaton Volunteer rescue Squad, Montgomery County.

Chief Gibbons was a life member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and a charter member of Heroes, Inc.

On May 16, 1993, the Fire and Rescue Service Wing of the Montgomery County Public Service Training Academy was dedicated in memory of Chief A. Marvin Gibbons.

Marvin Gibbons was raised in Washington, D.C., graduating from Anacostia High School. He served in the Navy aboard the U.S.S. Eldorado for 23 months in the Pacific during World War II. Chief Gibbons married May Ann Campbell. They raised two sons, Michael C. and A. Marvin III. Marvin’s grandchildren include: Lauren A., Michael C. II, Kelly L., and Marvin IV.

Chief A. Marvin Gibbons passed away on December 13, 1990 at his home in Lighthouse Point, Florida.

Marvin was admired for his accomplishments, love for his wit, and respected for his decency. He saw the good in every person. A friend of both the mighty and the meek. Marvin nonetheless possessed uncommon humility.

Those of us who knew Marvin personally will never forget his happy demeanor, caring personality, and high values. Those who did not have that special privilege will still have his remarkable legacy of good works.

Marvin Gibbons will always be a beacon of honor and genuine hero to the Hillandale Volunteer Fire Department.

The Hillandale Volunteer Fire Department gratefully acknowledges the cooperation and support of the following individuals and organizations during the design and production of this award:  Abe Lincoln Flags, Banners & Gifts, Vienna, Virginia; Acme Plating Company, Inc., Baltimore, Maryland; Clements Industries, Inc., Ashton, Maryland; Continental, Inc., Rockville, Maryland; Day Memorials, Beltsville, Maryland; John J. Habert, Ellicott City, Maryland; New Arts Foundry, Baltimore, Maryland; Precision Plastics, Beltsville, Maryland; William Thrift, III, Bowie, Maryland; Wood Creations, Dunkirk, Maryland.

The A. Marvin Gibbons Memorial Committee, Hillandale Volunteer Fire Department; Chief Richard P. Clime, Chief Bruce A. Emmel, C. Townesend Jones, Maureen G. Saval, Joseph A. Weisgerber, George W. Willie.

The Hillandale Volunteer Fire Department gratefully acknowledges the cooperation and support of the following individuals and organizations during the design and production of this award:

  • Abe Lincoln Flags, Banners & Gifts, Vienna, Virginia
  • Acme Plating Company, Inc., Baltimore, Maryland
  • Clements Industries, Inc., Ashton, Maryland
  • Continental, Inc., Rockville, Maryland
  • Day Memorials, Beltsville, Maryland
  • John J. Habert, Ellicott City, Maryland
  • New Arts Foundry, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Precision Plastics, Beltsville, Maryland
  • L. William Thrift, III, Bowie, Maryland
  • Wood Creations, Dunkirk, Maryland
  • A. Marvin Gibbons Memorial Committee
  • Hillandale Volunteer Fire Department
  • Richard P. Clime
  • Bruce A. Emmel
  • C. Townsend Jones
  • Maureen G. Saval
  • Joseph A. Weisgerber
  • George W. Willie

The Memorial Award

3.1 INTRODUCTION  –  The Chief A. Marvin Gibbons Memorial Award consists of four major components:  the pedestal, the felt field, the granite base, and the speaking trumpet.  In addition, the award also includes a support for the trumpet and a dust cover.  Each of the major components represents a specific aspect of the life of A. Marvin Gibbons.

3.2 PEDESTAL  –  The pedestal forms the foundation of the A. Marvin Gibbons Memorial Award.  Just as Marvin Gibbons was in life, this pedestal is robust, solid, and distinguished looking.  The pedestal. Made of solid mahogany, is octagonal in shape and measures forty inches high and approximately twenty-five inches across.  The pedestal rests on a one inch base plate.  In the top surface of the pedestal is a circular felt field.  This felt field is red, Marvin’s favorite color.  The felt field measures approximately eighteen inches in diameter.  Upon this surface rests the granite base.

3.3 GRANITE BASE  –  The  base of the Chief A. Marvin Gibbons Memorial Award is made from Elberton dark blue-gray granite.  The stone measures twelve and five-eights inches long, eight inches wide, and two inches high, has a smooth bottom, polished top, and rough sides with rounded corners.  This granite resembles the gravestone of Chief A. Marvin Gibbons.

3.4 SPEAKING TRUMPET  –  The Speaking Trumpet is an exact duplicate of the antique speaking trumpet presented to Chief Gibbons by the Hillandale Volunteer Fire Department upon his election to President of the MSFA.  The Speaking Trumpet was cast in bronze from a mold made from the original trumpet.  The bronze trumpet was then polished and chrome plated.  Chief Gibbons instituted the use of chrome to accent equipment and apparatus in order to build pride within the Department.  The red, white and blue braid and tassels are a ceremonial halyard representing the patriotism of Chief Gibbons.


4.1 SET-UP AND RELOCATION  –  The Chief A. Marvin Gibbons Memorial Award should be displayed is a dry, level location.  Care should be taken to protect the pedestal base molding from damage.  After an appropriate location has been decided, determine where the front of the Award will face.  Place the pedestal in position and rotate until the “pointed” portion of the dust cover groove is facing away from the front.  Place the granite base in the center of the felt field with the name plate toward the front.  Align the rear side of the base with the “pointed” portion of the dust cover groove.  Place the plastic trumpet holder (plastic rod) in such a fashion that the ends point toward the front.  Place the Trumpet on the plastic holder so as to tilt the trumpet toward the back.  The Trumpet should rest on the holder.  Adjust the location (front to back) to space the Trumpet evenly over the granite base.  Lift the dust cover over the Trumpet and place in groove with “seam” of dust cover at the “pointed” portion of the groove.  Check the alignment of the Trumpet by standing at the front; the dust cover seam should be invisible behind and in line with the Trumpet.

4.2 MAINTENANCE AND CARE  –  The Chief A. Marvin Gibbons Memorial Award has been designed with minimum care required.  The pedestal requires only occasional dusting.  Prior to returning the Award to the next MSFA Convention, the pedestal should be waxed with a good grade furniture wax.  The dust cover should maintain the granite base and Speaking Trumpet relatively dust free.  Prior to returning the Award to the next convention, simply dust the trumpet with a soft cloth.  The granite base may be wiped with a damp cloth.  The dust cover should be cleaned with the plastic cleaner provided.

4.3 INSURANCE  – In the event of damage or theft, please contact Secretary Doyle Cox 443-532-1416