Marc Kamerad was named the 2010 Thomson Fire/Rescue Firefighter of The Year during the city's annual fire department banquet Saturday night at the Thomson Depot.
"It's a real honor to have been chosen firefighter of the year," said the 35-year-old Mr. Kamerad, a volunteer firefighter with the Thomson Fire/Rescue since August 2009. "I'm very grateful for this honor."
Mr. Kamerad, who works full time as a shipping department supervisor at Badcock Home Furnishings Distribution Center in Thomson, said he believes that everyone affiliated with the Thomson Fire/Rescue deserves recognition because of all they do to help people.
This year's recipient said he knew the honor was being bestowed to him as soon as Deputy Chief Johnny Crawley began talking about his military career.
"I knew right then that he was talking about me," said Mr. Kamerad.
Mr. Kamerad received a bronze sculpture of a firefighter.
He said that he had not decided where he would like to place it but that he would "definitely" place it in a prominent area of his home.
"I'm very proud of this honor," he said.
It's not the first time that Mr. Kamerad has been honored for his services to others. He was named the Navy's Sailor of The Year in 2002.
After graduating from Madison County High School in Clayton in 1993, Mr. Kamerad moved to Thomson, where he worked at Badcock for five years before deciding to join the Navy. While in the Navy for four years, he was assigned to the USS Connecticut, a submarine.
Mr. Kamerad said he enjoys working as a volunteer firefighter with Thomson Fire/Rescue.
"I enjoy having the chance to work with a great group of guys -- all of us with a common goal of helping each other and people within the community," he said.
He is married to Mandy Kamerad and has two stepsons, Chandler and Preston. The family lives in Thomson.
Mr. Kamerad is assigned to the Thomson Fire/Rescue Engine Company 704 and works out of headquarters and station No. 2.
He enjoys spending his spare time with family, playing golf and watching college and professional football on television.
"I've got something to do all the time," Mr. Kamerad added with a laugh.
Thomson Fire/Rescue Chief Rick Sewell said Mr. Kamerad is a shining example of the men and women who make up his department.
"He's very dedicated and willing to do anything you asked him to do," Chief Sewell said.
"We're very proud to have him serving as a volunteer firefighter with our department."
Deputy Chief Crawley described Mr. Kamerad as one of those exceptional, traditional firefighters who does what he does with his heart in it.
Such willingness and devotion by volunteer firefighters stretches back to the days of the early 1800s in America, Deputy Chief Crawley said.
"Marc has his heart in firefighting," he added.
"He is always willing to give of his time. He sometimes even comes in and works a shift with other firefighters just to gain more experience."