The Santa Barbara County Fire Dept. is holding a citizen recognition luncheon today in honor of citizens and businesses who have contributed their time and effort over the past year.

The department has invited 26 citizens for lunch and a recognition ceremony at Timbers Restaurant in Goleta. The ceremony will begin around 12:30 p.m. and will honor volunteers as well as civilians.

“We want to recognize citizens that have assisted us this year, some as volunteers and some as conscientious citizens that got involved in emergency incidents,” Capt. Charlie Johnson said.

Among those being honored are five men who assisted in a water rescue off the 6800 block of Del Playa Drive on Jan. 5. A 45-year-old man suffered a fatal heart attack while surfing near Coal Oil Point. Joey Moschetti, Brad Short, Dave Miles, Brian Scrine and Rick Brock helped the man stay above water and tried to resuscitate him until the fire department arrived.

“I believe it’s important for our department to take time out to recognize special working relationships and the special contributions our volunteers make to the betterment of our department and the communities we serve,” Chief John Scherrei said. “I also feel it’s important to recognize those unselfish acts performed by citizens at the scene of a vehicle accident or other emergency. Some citizens make a conscious choice to become involved, others just happen to be in the right place at the right time to get involved and make a difference, sometimes a lifesaving difference.”

Other citizens being recognized for their assistance in emergency situations are Billy Jacobs, a firefighter and paramedic in training, and Aaron Moore of the Bakersfield Fire Dept. for their help with a vehicle accident on Highway 166 on April 11. Dave “Red” Edwards, an employee of AJ Diani Construction, is also being recognized for his help in a vehicle accident on Highway 166 on Jan. 19.

“Our firefighters have a tremendous amount of pride in their skills and abilities to manage emergency incidents, but we also recognize and respect the extra efforts and risk that our local citizens often take when confronted with an emergency incident,” Scherrei said.

The department will also recognize volunteers from the American Red Cross, local homeowners associations, the Chumash Tribal Hall, Kawasaki of Santa Barbara and Thomas Towing.