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David Durrence named McDuffie's 'Firefighter of The Year'

David Durrence recently had a big night.

It occurred on Saturday, Nov. 22 during the Annual McDuffie County Fire/Rescue Services Banquet at the Thomson Depot. First, he was promoted to the rank of captain and, later that same night, named "Firefighter of The Year."

"I couldn't believe it," said Capt. Durrence, who has worked as a volunteer firefighter/first responder with the local county fire department for the past three years.

Capt. Durrence, who lives in neighboring Columbia County near Appling, has been a firefighter since joining the Appling Volunteer Fire Department in late 1997. He worked as a volunteer there after the name of the department was changed to North Columbia County Volunteer Fire Department. The volunteer fire departments in that county were done away with more than three years ago, resulting in several of those volunteers switching over to McDuffie County.

Since joining the McDuffie County Fire/Rescue Services, Capt. Durrence, along with several of his buddies, including Tom McFarland, who had served as the volunteer fire chief in Appling, have been mainstays at Engine Company 6. The station is located in the Carolyn Lake area, off Stagecoach Road.

"It's been like open-arms since coming here," said Capt. Durrence, whose full-time job is working as a system operator and serving as a member of fire brigade at Georgia Power Company's Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro. "We haven't skipped a beat. The guys are so easy to get along with here. There's no pressure. It's just a good atmosphere. I really enjoy working in McDuffie County."

The 47-year-old Capt. Durrence, who grew up in south Richmond County and graduated from Butler High School in 1979, is a born leader, said McDuffie County Fire/Rescue Services Chief Bruce Tanner.

"David has natural leadership abilities," said Chief Tanner. "He's the kind of guy other firefighters just seem to turn to when they want answers about firefighting questions. Other firefighters have all the respect in the world for his abilities and knowledge."

Chief Tanner said Capt. Durrence was the "perfect choice" when it came time to promote someone or to choose a firefighter of the year.

"His leadership abilities and willingness to continue his fire/rescue education is a remarkable attribute," added Chief Tanner. "He and the other volunteers who chose to come here are great contributors to this fire station. It was certainly a windfall for McDuffie County when they came here."

Chief Tanner pointed out that Capt. Durrence "just stands out in terms of his leadership qualities. He's been a real blessing and taken a lot off of pressures off of me."

Capt. Durrence sees his volunteer role with the McDuffie County Fire/Rescue Services as a divine calling.

"I think this is a calling from the good Lord," said Capt. Durrence. "It's something that I have just fallen in love with. I love helping people."

Capt. Durrence and his wife, Millie, have two sons, Corey, 20, and Taylor, 15. Corey is in the process of finishing the volunteer rookie firefighting training class in McDuffie County, while Taylor is a freshman at Greenbrier High School.

MCDUFFIE COUNTY FIRE/RESCUE SERVICE BY THE NUMBERS

1,200 Calls so far.

6,000 man hours in training

5,000 man hours on service calls

Personnel have responded to an average of 75 calls each

Personnel have put in an average of 90 training hours per firefighter.

87 people on the roster, up from 67 three years ago.

MCDUFFIE COUNTY FIRE/RESCUE SERVICE HONORS

Promotions

Lt. Mark Beckum

Lt. Chris McAlister

Lt. John Payne

Capt. Kevin Perry

Capt. David Durrence

COMMENDATIONS AND SERVICE AWARDS

Five Years

Preston Ashley

Lt. James Lewis

10 Years

Joe Vines

15 Years

Lt. Mark Beckum

Judson Story

Becky Craven

Michael Crosby

25 Years

Asst. Chief Stephen Sewell

40 Years

Paul Watson

Johnny Crawley

2008 CERTIFICATIONS

Module 1

Joseph Dewitt

Daren Flores

Pat Sanders

Derrick Smith

NPQ Firefighter I

Jason Burnley

Capt. David Durrence

Allen Farley

Jim Parish

Brad Randolph

NPQ Haz-Mat Awareness

Lt. Mark Beckum

James Bland

Capt. Lawrence Bruce

Joseph Dewitt

Capt. David Durrence

Allen Farley

Daren Flores

Lt. Rhusha Mack

Jim Parish

Capt. K. Perry

Brad Randolph

Capt. Bobby Reynolds

NPQ Haz-Mat Operations

Lt. Mark Beckum

Capt. Lawrence Bruce

Capt. David Durrence

Nick Faircloth

Daren Flores

Doug Lord

Lt. Rhusha Mack

Lt. Chris McAlister

Chris Sanders

Asst. Chief Stephen Sewell

Chief Bruce Tanner

NPQ Fire Instructor 1

Asst. Chief Stephen Sewell

Russell Barnes

Lt. Jeff Guerrero

Lt. James Lewis

Doug Lord

Chris Sanders



Web posted on Thursday, December 04, 2008













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