After 19 years as an Oberlin firefighter, Joe Smith still loves hearing the tones go off when the department has a call.
Smith was named the 2015 Firefighter of the Year for his outstanding dedication and reliability. “It’s exciting and humbling at the same time,” Smith said of receiving the award.
He believes everyone at the station deserves this honor.
“Every piece of the puzzle is very important,” Smith said. “Everybody adding to that piece makes it whole. Everyone offers something different and to be singled out for what I do, that definitely is amazing.”
Smith is a part-time firefighter and paramedic for the department, a full-time paramedic for Oberlin Allen Hospital, and a full-time student working on a fire science degree.
The 19-year veteran has responded to a wide variety of calls in his time at the Oberlin fire station.
“There’s always calls you remember and play back to see what you could have done differently or what went well,” Smith said.
Fire chief Bob Hanmer said Smith received the award because he is always stepping up.”He’s one of the firefighters you can count on if you need something,” Hanmer said. “He’s going to be there.”
When a firefighter is injured, on vacation, or sick, Smith seems to always step up to fill the gap. “He can step in and do their job and we don’t have to watch him,” the chief said.
Smith admitted he does cover a lot of shifts at the station despite being a full-time student and paramedic.
“We have a great group of people,” Smith said. “It’s great to work with them. They make you stronger every day.”
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.
Valerie Urbanik | Oberlin News-Tribune
Joe Smith has been named Oberlin’s 2015 Firefighter of the Year for his outstanding dedication to the department.