Tanner named Firefighter of the Year
Posted by : February 13, 2013| On :
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–The annual naming of the Firefighter of the Year in Mabank took an interesting turn this year with the 25th anniversary for the top honor.
Secondly, last year’s honoree, traditionally the one to name his successor spend most of 2012 deployed with the military and couldn’t attend the banquet.
However, Joey Dominque did not want anyone else to make the announcement, so he was a virtual guest at the awards banquet Saturday, held at the Comfort Suites via Skype.
As luck would have it, he was stateside in Virginia, visiting with his wife and children before returning to the Persian Gulf for another four to six months. And despite a blizzard impacting the eastern seaboard, he made the presentation.
First he quoted a few select words from former president George W. Bush on the value of volunteerism, also known as citizenship, and thanked his brothers at the Mabank Fire Department for helping to make him the man he is today.
This year, it came down to two of the top ten performers this year, and the winner was separated from the runner-up by just one vote, master of ceremonies Robert Munden explained before dinner.
The two finalists were new member Jerry Sanchez, who in his first year with the department logged 225 service calls, and medical officer Kenneth Tanner.
On announcing the winner, Dominique said, “If you want to see one of these tough guys cry, just present them with a golden axe.” And then he named Kenneth Tanner, the 2012 Firefighter of the Year.
Tyler fire chief Tim Johnson, a Mabank City Councilman, highlighted the best of firefighting spirit from the past with the realities of the present.
“Right here in this room is the heart and soul of Mabank,” he said. “Everyone works together as a team to protect the lives and property of his neighbor.”
It is no different in Tyler, except there, every action is taken efficiently, thoughtfully and safely.
He said the epitome of the firefighting spirit was exemplified in the tough “leather lung” men who disdained the use of oxygen bottles and seemed to eat smoke. He hopes that going forward both the selfless-confident tradition of the old and the efficient safety-mindedness of the present will marry to produce a brotherhood that continues to work as a team to protect the most lives and property.