|Soldier receives top firefighter award
Source: By THE BAYONET Caroline Gotler
Fort Benning Bayonet, 5 December 2008
Soldier receives top firefighter award
By THE BAYONET Caroline Gotler
SSG Kevin Duquette was named Alabama Firefighter of the Year Nov. 15 by the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Duquette, a captain in the Fort Mitchell Volunteer Fire Rescue squad, was nominated for the award by the commander of VFW Post 5180, Mike Craig, and VFW member SFC(R)Jeffrey Klein.
“I was really surprised,” Duquette said. “I knew that I had won an award at the district level, and I was pretty happy about that. But, I had no clue that I was going to win an award for the entire state — the thought never even crossed my mind.”
Duquette, who is currently assigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Benning, said his family influenced his decision to become a firefighter.
“I’ve got a history of firefighters in my family, so one day, I just decided to go down to the station and see what it’s all about, and whether I could help them out,” he said.
Duquette said he instantly felt welcomed by the other firefighters, and began devoting much of his free time to the fire department.
Duquette’s dedication to helping others and his leadership skills as a firefighter earned him the award, Craig said.
“He’s a selfless server,” Craig said. “He spends all of his free time at the fire department. He’s directly responsible for saving lives in Russell County.”
“Just being a full time Soldier is enough as it is, but being a volunteer firefighter on top of that is a real plus,” Klein said.
Even though Duquette has only been a member of the Fort Mitchell fire squad for a year and a half, he has already earned the rank of captain — a quick rate of promotion he credits to his military background and dedication to excellence.
“I’ve been in classes since February to become certified as a volunteer firefighter,” Duquette said. “It’s a rare thing for volunteer firefighters to be certified, and I’m one of only a handful in the entire county.”
Such commitment is typical of Duquette, Klein said.
“His character is impeccable, beyond reproach,” Klein said.
Duquette plans to continue firefighting, and would like to become a full-time firefighter after he gets out of the Army.
“It’s become a career path for me,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to do good things for other people and to have a sense of helping the community.”