Optimists honor Farmington Hills Firefighter of the Year

The Farmington/Farmington Hills Breakfast Optimist Club on January 22 honored Farmington Hills Senior Firefighter John Harshbarger as their Firefighter of the Year.

Optimists Firefighter of the Year
Pictured from left: Deputy Fire Chief Jason Olszewski, Sr. Firefighter John Harshbarger, Fire Chief Jon Unruh, and Fire Marshal Jason Baloga (City of Farmington Hills)


A Harrison High School alum, Harshbarger became a paid-on-call firefighter in March of 2012 and was promoted to Career Firefighter in December of 2013. Among his awards and honors are Station Four Firefighter of the Year, multiple Life Saving Awards, Chain of Survival Awards, and many Letters of Commendation from the public.

Harshbarger holds Bachelor of Science degree from Western Michigan University. He is a certified PEER Fitness Trainer and recently spearheaded, and secured $20,000 in funding for, a project to update weight rooms and fitness equipment at all five Farmington Hills fire stations.

Harshbarger is part of the Fire Department’s Honor Guard and is also a founding member of the newly-created Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Team. As a team leader, he plays an integral role in helping his fellow first responders cope with the mental stress associated with exposure to traumatic events.

“John has embraced both the physical and mental health of our staff,” said Fire Chief Jon Unruh. “He works diligently to provide the tools and assistance needed to enhance the vital well-being of our firefighters.”

Reported by