Firefighters of the year have been selected from the ranks of the Mount Airy Fire Department.
Members of the department who distinguish themselves through various efforts receive the annual recognition through a selection process decided by their peers. This includes one full-time, or career, member and one part-timer, reflecting the valuable resource each employment category is considered to be in the providing of fire-protection and medical-response services by the department.
Travis King is the choice for the city’s full-time firefighter of the year, while Jason Fariss was picked as part-time firefighter of the year.
“Both of them have really gone above and beyond in their availability,” Mount Airy Fire Chief Zane Poindexter said of King’s and Fariss’ reliability in responding to emergencies, with their on-the-job performance also a factor.
King has been a career member of the city fire unit for several years, after originally coming to work for the municipality in 2000 in its utilities division, and formerly was a part-time firefighter.
Fariss has been a part-time firefighter for five years, Poindexter added.
The fire chief said both full- and part-time personnel are considered for the annual awards due to the vital role the part-timers play.
Out of 41 total positions in the Mount Airy Fire Department, 20 involve full-time or career members, including an administrative assistant, with more than half, 21, made of up part-timers/reservists.
“They help us back up the career firefighters,” Poindexter said of the key contribution by part-time personnel. “They get the same kind of training.” In some cases, as with King, they will become career members.
The respective firefighters of the year are chosen through a nomination/balloting process held in conjunction with fire training sessions conducted each November.
“It is done by the employees,” Poindexter said of the procedure in which every department member gets a vote in each of the two categories.
The award recipients are then recognized during an annual Christmas breakfast of the fire department.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.