March is awards month for the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services.

In addition to Capt. Dale Becker's national award for innovation, which he received on March 10, the department is also hosting its internal 2013 awards at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 21 at Bridgeway Community Church, in Columbia.

Department Chief Bill Goddard said the evening is one of the most exciting nights of the year.

"These people don't look for recognition, it's a part of what they do," Gottard said. "This ceremony allows the organization to stop and really honor and recognize those in the organization that have given so much back to the community over the year."

Below is a list of awards that will be presented on March 21.

-Officer of the Year - to the fire officer who has shown consistent leadership, guidance and attention to detail, in order to ensure a commitment to the highest standards of performance and operational excellence.

-Firefighter of the Year - to the firefighter who best exemplifies the standards of the department.

-Quality of Care - in recognition of outstanding effort by one or more individual(s) who characteristically and consistently demonstrate an exceptionally high standard of patient care and/or demonstrate a sustained effort to implement a program that advances patient care and the core mission of emergency medical services (EMS) in Howard County.

-Meritorious Service Award - for exemplary personal conduct, either for a single event or an extended period of time.

-Leadership - to an individual who provided direction, motivation and knowledge to assist others in accomplishing an objective.

-Community Risk Reduction - to an individual who initiated or contributed to the implementation of a major organizational change or program which resulted in the improvement of the Public Education, Code Enforcement or Fire Investigation.

-Certificate of Appreciation - to individuals and organizations that have played a critical role in the attainment of the department's mission.

-Honorable Mention - a recognition of  members who have been honored on a county, state, national or international level for their outstanding achievements as a result of their hard work and dedication to the department.

-Gift of Life - recognizes the outstanding provision of EMS by an individual(s) that resulted in the saving of a life.

-Stork Award - presented in recognition of an individual(s) who assisted with the birth of a child.