By Member John Long, Jr.
March 16, 2024


On March 13, 2024, Captain Michael (Mike) Zoeller of the Odenton Volunteer Fire Company (OVFC) received a Governor’s Volunteer Service First Responder Award for 2023.

Mike joined OVFC in September 2000 and has proven to be a very dedicated and capable member over the years. He has consistently contributed to the company’s success through his roles in both emergency operations and administration. He has steadily taken on more responsibility and now holds the rank of captain and is the third ranking officer in the company. He is a very active member of several key committees including Length of Service Award Program (LOASAP), Honor Guard, Governance, Training, Apparatus, and Information Technology. Mike is a very active participant in the OVFC Annual Carnival and is a key member of the kitchen crew who routinely staffs the grill. He is the duty officer on Wednesday night, managing a crew of five to six volunteer members. He willingly steps forward when help is needed on other shifts and for special details and events. He assists with training, fundraising, and public relations events. He takes on additional responsibilities without hesitation and completes all tasks in a professional and timely manner.

Captain Zoeller has taken over 1,400 hours of certified training and has responded to over 5,300 fire and medical calls. For many years he has been one of OVFC’s “top ten” responders. Mike averages 12 hours on duty each week plus many more hours’ training. He is also an Emergency Services Instructor for the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute and enjoys teaching Firefighter I and II classes to prepare new firefighters for the serious challenges ahead. Mike is a skilled apparatus driver/operator and is an excellent trainer for new driver candidates for OVFC’s fire engines and ladder truck.

Captain Zoeller is a key member of OVFC. He contributes to all aspects of the organization. His commitment, dedication, and leadership serve as a role model for younger members. He is calm and decisive during emergency situations. He always has the best interests of the fire company and its members in mind. He continually seeks opportunities to improve his abilities as well as those of other members. In summary, Mike is a dedicated and competent volunteer firefighter who provides a critical service to the community.