NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – It’s a climb for a good cause that honors those who risk everything to keep the community safe. They put their lives on the line day in and day out.
For the third year in a row, firefighters are being honored for their service with a Firefighter of the Year award and the American Lung Association’s ‘Fight for Air’ Climb.
“Firefighters in New Mexico, and everywhere really, exemplify courage, guts, dedication, and commitment to their profession, and we need to honor and recognize them. They come through when people need them to protect their lives and their property,” Bob Digneo, Director of External Affairs with AT&T New Mexico who presented the Award.
Saturday Morning, Lieutenant Jeremy Dugan was honored as this year’s Firefighter of the Year. Lt. Dugan has been with the Farmington Fire Department for 17 years.
He is someone that his firehouse describes as fun, charismatic, and a strong leader.
“It’s an honor to be a firefighter. I love my job. I love the people I work with; I love my community,” said Lt. Dugan.
His crew nominated him for his part in a rescue after a woman and her 21-month-old baby were thrown from their white water raft. Without hesitation, the father of two dove into the treacherous waters to save the baby.
“It was absolutely breathtaking, you know, and he did it without hesitation and put his life on the line knowing he’s got two boys at home by themselves, you know, and so he put his life on the line to save that little girl, and she’s here today because of him,” said Kilian Carey, who works with Dugan and nominated him for the award.
“I didn’t really have time to think about it. I just knew that something had to be done. So I was the closest one to make that move. So I jumped in and grabbed her,” said Lt. Dugan.
Lt. Dugan said being a firefighter is one of the greatest honors and helping others is what is most important.
“When people call us, they’re having the worst day of their life, and so if we can show up and make their life better in some way, then that’s what more can you ask for?”
Saturday’s ‘Fight For A Climb’ event was at an Albuquerque Training Facility. The annual event also gives people the chance to experience a state-of-the-art training facility while raising money to fight lung disease.