The Gwinnett Fire Honor Guard Unit is the best dressed in the country. On Wednesday, the unit was presented with a special award for the 2011 Fire Service Uniform of the Year during a small ceremony at Gwinnett County Fire Headquarters in Lawrenceville.
The Honor Guard had been in the same uniform for the last quarter-century. When fire investigator, Ira Burnette, took over as HG Commander a few years ago, he pushed for an updated look. "I wanted something more form-fitting, that would kind of make us stand out from other agencies...this idea definitely did it", Burnette said.
The uniform is similar to the ones worn by the United States Marine Corps. The Honor Guards had complete control of the look, deciding everything from the red trim to the piping, and re-designing the patch and badge.
Once they had a consensus, Red The Uniform Tailor in Marietta, took over the rest. Red's southeast regional sales manager, Jack Brown, said the award is a great honor, "Any time we can be recognized by our industry to have a customer of ours awarded the best dressed department in the U.S., not only says volumes about Gwinnett County and how professional they want their firefighters to look…the fact that they partnered with Red The Uniform Tailor to get it achieved is very gratifying."
The Honor Guard has only been in the uniform for about a month, and they are already a big hit within the community.
"It makes us extremely proud", said Capt. Tommy Rutledge, public information officer for the Gwinnett Fire Department, "The Honor Guard represents the department at events such as funerals, ceremonies and parades, and we want them to look their very best."