Pictured above: (L to R) Assistant Chief Mike Billings, Firefighter Walter Horne, Lieutenant Brandon Wiggins and Fire Chief Spencer Lee – Picture courtesy of the Statesville Fire Department
On Thursday evening, Statesville Fire Department held a ceremony to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of several firefighters. Each year, a firefighter and officer are recognized for their initiative and dedication to the department and the citizens of Statesville. Other achievements are recognized as well.
Firefighter Walter Horne was recognized as Firefighter of the Year. Firefighter Horne has been employed with the Statesville Fire Department since May 2011. During his tenure, he excelled as a firefighter and took on challenging projects outside his normal duties as a firefighter. According to Fire Chief Spencer Lee, Horne was very deserving of this recognition because of his work ethic and the fact that his integrity and character are very much in line with the department’s mission to seek opportunities to serve and a model for others to follow. Firefighter Horne was joined by his wife (Brandi) and two children (Zalie & Aiden) for the ceremony.
Lieutenant Brandon Wiggins was recognized as Officer of the Year. Lt. Wiggins has been employed with the Statesville Fire Department since May 2011, and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in September 2016. “Lt. Wiggins is commonly found going above and beyond in his job,” said Chief Lee. “He stepped up to serve as an acting supervisor in the fire department for the majority of a year, and performed these duties well. Wiggins sets a great example for his crew.” He has demonstrated meeting the department’s mission through placing others before himself. He organized assisting the Muscular Dystrophy Association with fundraisers by inviting firefighters to help raise more than $2,000 to help children afflicted with muscular dystrophy disease go to summer camp. Lt. Wiggins was joined by his wife (Brandi), his parents and grandfather.
Captain Keith Menster and Firefighter Justin Yox were recognized for saving a life related to rescuing an unconscious man found in his home located at 435 Deaton Street. On August 14, 2017, the 2 story duplex apartment became involved in fire and firefighters were called to the scene. Captain Menster’s crew was the first on scene and they quickly went to work. Firefighter Yox arrived in the second engine company just as Menster was entering the building. They encountered heavy smoke and heat conditions inside the home when Menster found the unconscious man. He radioed for assistance in removing the man while the rest of his crew continued to fight fire. Firefighter Yox stepped in and helped muscle the man out to other crews who were waiting to provide basic life-saving care. “The person they pulled out of the building would definitely not have survived if it were not for the quick response, rapid search and fantastic team work by all involved,” stated Chief Lee.
Chief Lee shared his praise for the outstanding efforts for which the firefighters were being recognized. “I’m proud to be part of such an awesome group of people who will set aside concerns for themselves to help others that they don’t even know,” said Chief Lee. “They are certainly part of what makes Statesville such a great place to live!”
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