Chiefs and Staff Bios

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SSFD Chiefs



Bengie CowartChuck Kearns

Chief of Operations


Chuck currently serves as the president of the National Association of EMTs, previously worked as the director emergency medical services in Greene County, Fla. He was then appointed to the FEMA National Advisory Council.

He received his bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s of business administration from the University of South Florida in Tampa. He is a certified EMT, paramedic, NAEMT instructor, rescue scuba diver and advanced emergency medical dispatcher.

His honors include the Florida Department of Health’s Public Health Education Leadership Award, Florida Governor’s Sterling Award for Quality Improvement and the Florida Department of Health’s EMS Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1985, he received a lifesaving award signed by President Ronald Reagan for helping rescue five drowning swimmers when he was an open-water, beach patrol lifeguard.


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Anne Andrews

Anne Andrews

Asst. General Manager

Anne has been with Southside Fire/EMS & Security for 42 years. When she began her career in 1972, Southside had four stations and the office staff consisted of two people. At that time, Southside had a budget of approximately $4,000.00 which has now grown to approximately $19,000,000.00.

Under her direction, the office was automated with computers. She helped create a modified program for the fire accounts receivable. She worked hard to integrate the EMS and Fire office Staff. She is continually working to get both EMS and Fire Office Staff cross-trained. She worked with her staff to get all records scanned into digital form. Presently, Anne serves as the Assistant General Manager and manages a staff of eighteen.

Anne is married and she has a daughter. Her husband, Tom, is an Account Executive with Thermo-Fisher Health Care. Her daughter Lindsay is a Registered Nurse at Memorial Health University. She is a member of Isle of Hope Baptist Church.

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  Anthony Wayne Noha


Wayne Noha
Asst. Chief of Fire


Born and raised on Burnside Island in Montgomery (a community in southeast Chatham County). Wayne began in the fire service at the age of 17. He was instrumental in the implemenation of the Santa Truck which travels the district on Christmas Eve giving candy to children and bringing fruit baskets to the elderly in the area. Chief Noha has progressed all the way through the ranks of the volunteer division attaining the office of Chief of his division before being selected to the position of Assistan Chief of Fire for the entire organization this year on his predecessor's retiring. He has numerous certifications both at the State and National level. He founded the Montgomery Medical First Responder Unit of which is is still Director.

Wayne is married to his wife Laurie. In addition to his many hours spent with the fire service, he is President of the Burnside Island Neighborhood Association, the Montgomery Athletic Association, serves as a member of the Chatham County Board of Appeals, is an active member of Ferguson AVenue Baptist Church where he is SS Assistant, choir member and cooks and serves dinners on Wednesday nights. Chief Noha is also a State Licensed Commercial General Contractor and owns a rental home business.

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Bengie Cowart Bengie Cowart
Asst. Chief of EMS


Bengie started his public safety career in 1981 as a JR Firefighter with Guyton Vol. Fire Department where he started learning how to respond to emergency citations and how to render aid to patients. Bengie went to EMT school in 1987 and began working with Effingham County EMS and went to Paramedic school in 1989 and started working with Raceway EMS based out of Guyton until Effingham County EMS took over the service in 1998 and became a supervisor with them at that time. Bengie started working as paramedic with Chatham County EMS in 1994, until MedStarOne under Memorial Health took over the EMS service. Worked the streets of Savannah as lead paramedic until 2001 when he became a FTO/SWAT Medic with MedStarOne and moved into a Lieutenant’s position over field staff. After serving there for several years he was promoted to a Captains position and then finally as EMS Director. In 2011 Bengie joined the Southside Fire/EMS & Security as the Assistant EMS Director having the rank of Battalion Chief and in 2013 promoted to Assistant Chief/EMS Director. Bengie holds numerous instructors certifications such as BLS, ACLS, PALS, PHTLS, First Aide/AED also holds Certifications in the fire service with his NPQ I and II. Bengie has also served as Coroner in Effingham County for several years. Bengie currently serves on the Board of Directors for the GAEMS as President of the Providers Division. Bengie is very active at Countryside Baptist Church where he heads up their security and safety department. Bengie has been married to his wife Toni for 21 years and they have one daughter Makayla age 11.

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Garron E.L. Cole

Garron E.L. Cole
Chief of Training



Serving the public through this Department since 1976 as a Firefighter, the leadership skills and talents of this officer rapidly became apparent. Rising to the rank of Captain within 2 short years, Garron has continued to strive for excellence in service and education. With over 34 years of continuing education and experience Garron Cole has proven time and again his sound judgment and capabilities as a leader. Promoted to Chief of Training in 2004, Garron adds to his already impressive list of certifications, which include but are not limited to:

GPSTC, GFA, GEMA, CEMA (State & Local) Certifications- Fire Chief, Chief Officer, Fire Inspector, Training Officer, Company Officer, GA EMT, Apparatus Engineer, State Fire Instructor I & II, State Poison Prevention Instructor, Fire Incident Command, Helicopter & Air Operations, Structural & Crash Fire/Rescue, EVOC & etc.

NPQ, NFPA, NFA, DOT, USCG, FEMA, NAEMT (National & Federal) Certifications- Fire Instructor NPQ I & II, Incident Command & Management, Hazmat Response, EVOC, Emergency Response to Terrorism, Hazmat Transportation Emergencies, Rescue Specialties, EMD, NREMT-I & etc.

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David M. Johnson

David M. Johnson
Battalion Chief



Battalion Chief Dave Johnson started his career in Fire and EMS in 1985 in the Air Force as a Firefighter and became an EMT in 1986. He left the military in 1989 with a honorable discharge. After the military he was employed as a civilian Firefighter at Hunter Army Airfield. In 1991 he left Savannah for school  in California and began to work for Solano County EMS. In late 1992, he moved back to Savannah and began to work at Mercy Ambulance and Chatham County EMS. He achieved his Paramedic in 1993 and in 1997 joined Southside Fire Department in the merger with Mercy EMS.  He has since worked his way up to Battalion Chief.  His capable handling of crisis situations and "go get ´em" work ethic make him a valuable asset to our leadership team.

David´s impressive accomplishments include but are not limited to: GPSTC, GFA, GEMA, CEMA (State & Local) Certifications- GA Firefighter II, GA EMT-P, GEMA Rescue & Extrication Specialist, Structural & Crash Fire/Rescue, EVOC & etc.

NPQ, NFPA, NFA, DOT, NAEMT (National & Federal) Certifications- NPQ-II Firefighter, Hazmat Operations, NREMT-P, EMD, APHTLS & etc. Holds instructor certificates in ACLS, BCLS, PALS and NALS.

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Coming Soon

 Jodie Jernigan
Director of Communications



Bio Coming Soon...

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Wendell Hill

Wendell Hill
Southside Division Chief



Chief Wendell T Hill, Sr., is currently Chief of Southside Fire Department. He joined the military in 1974 and became a Georgia Air National Guard Technician in 1976. In 1977 he started volunteering with the Savannah Airport Commission as an Air/Crash firefighter. Six months later he started working for the Airport as a paid firefighter. He worked for the Airport Commission for 15 years. Some of his certifications were Firefighter 1 and 2 and State Certified Airport Firefighter.

He started volunteering with Southside Fire Department in 1992. He worked his way through the ranks: firefighter, lieutenant, captain, Assistant Chief, Deputy Chief and Chief. Certifications he holds includes Firefighter 1 and 2, Rescue Specialist, Jaws Extrication Specialist, and Hazmat Awareness. His desire to help other people lead to his firefighting career and now, 32 years later, he still loves helping others.

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Jason Waterfield

Jason Waterfield
Islands Division Chief



Chief Jason Waterfield began his career with Southside Fire/EMS/Security nearly 20 years ago as a firefighter. During this time Chief Waterfield has received an inordinate amount of fire and emergency service training from numerous local, state and federal resources. Jason became the Chief of Wilmington Island Fire Department in 2000 and continues his educational pursuits to this day.

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Chief Lars Ljungdahl

 Lars Ljungdahl             Skidaway Island Division Chief



Chief Lars Ljungdahl moved to the Landings from Connecticut in 1997. He is married to Sandra Lee, Lars has two married children, Ann and Christer and Sandra Lee has three children Beth, John and Beth     

Lars had more than 32 years of worldwide manufacturing and executive management experience with IBM. During this time he held many different positions in Europe and USA.  He retired in 1995 as Vice president of IBM’s worldwide logistics processes. His responsibilities included worldwide: logistics process strategy, cycle time reduction, inventory management, procurement, distribution, asset protection, reutilization and worldwide order process. Lars also led the IBM corporate reengineering of worldwide supply chain management and Customer fulfillment.    

Lars joined Meritus / Solving, fall 1996 as Vice President, Partner and Supply Chain Practice leader as such completed several significant projects and published numerous articles and supply chain and value chain white papers.    

Lars is active in the Presbyterian Church, the Landings Company board as Treasurer, Volunteer with the Bethesda Barn Builders and with the Southside Fire Department as a Fire Chief and EMS/First responder.    

Lars has a Masters degree in Electronic Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, an advanced business management degree from the Industry Management and Leadership Institute in Sweden and an Advanced Management Program (AMP) degree from INSEAD in France.

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Victor D'Alessandro

Victor D'Alessandro
7th District Division Chief



Chief Victor D’Alessandro, is Chief of 7th District Fire Department.  He has been a member of Southside for 22 years. Victor grew up in Totowa, NJ.  His interest was in aviation but while attending school full time he also worked full time at Caldwell Airport. It was here that he was thrust into firefighting. As a lineman at the local airport he was also required to respond with the Crash Fire Rescue vehicle and became interested in the fire service as well.

In 1985 he moved to take a job with Gulfstream Aerospace as an aviation technician. After settling in 1988 he joined Southside Fire Departments Islands Division and in 1997 he transferred his membership to 7th District Fire Dept. He worked his way up through the ranks as a Lieutenant, Captain, Asst. Chief and Chief.  Some of his certifications are Firefighter I, II and III, Rescue Specialist, Hazmat Awareness, Jaws Extrication. Victor attributes his success to the many paid and volunteer professional members who make his job easy and rewarding. He continues to work with Gulfstream today and attributes some of his success there to the lessons he has learned and the training he has received from the fire service.

Victor is married to Karen who is an OB-GYN and he has three children. Victoria, and twins Garrett and Gabrielle.  He appreciates the fact that they sacrifice many things to support his interest in firefighting as any spouse, child, and friend of a firefighter can attest.

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