Air station firefighter recognized for hard work, dedication

8 May 2009 | Sgt. Gina C. Rindt

Flames and smoke rise above the collapsing roof as the brave men and women rush into the burning house to do their duty and save lives.

The firefighters aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort help prevent and protect the residents of Laurel Bay and the Air Station from scenarios such as this, and their service doesn’t go unnoticed.

Every year, one firefighter is chosen to represent the Air Station for the Exchange Club Firefighter of the Year award for all of Beaufort County. This year, the Air Station structural fire departments’ lead firefighter, Captain Mark Morris, took home the award. The Air Station structural fire department also presented Morris with the Base Fire Officer of the Year award for his accomplishments, job performance and leadership.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to receive these awards,” Morris said. “It means so much to me and the department. Where I am today is only made possible because of the help and support of the professional group of men I work with.”

Across the Corps, one firefighter will receive the Marine Corps’ Department of Defense Firefighter of the Year award sometime in mid-May and for the Air Station Morris was nominated.

“Having the chance to include one of our firefighters in the nomination for the Marine Corps Firefighter of the Year award is an honor,” said Captain Darran Vaughn, the Air Station structural fire departments’ training officer. “It’s a privilege to be chosen for such an important award and we believe the right firefighter was nominated from the Air Station.”

Throughout the year, the fire stations conduct training to keep up on the proper procedures and techniques necessary to prevent and contain fires as well as many other important skills needed to protect Marines, sailors and their families. It is because of this training Morris and the other Air Station firefighters have brought the Exchange Club Firefighter of the Year award home numerous times.

“Some of the training we receive as firefighters are medical classes, so we are aware of how to take care of the victims, and we also conduct live burns at the burn building aboard the Air Station,” Morris said. “When we get calls we know not to react like it’s a routine call, but an emergency where people’s lives could be in danger.”