Central Emergency Services on-call volunteer firefighter Josh Thompson stands beside a CES rescue vehicle in the Soldotna fire station.
Photo by Phil Hermanek
A 21-year-old Central Emergency Services on-call volunteer firefighter has been selected to receive the American Red Cross Fire Rescue Award.
Josh Thompson, who first became interested in fire fighting after a tour of the fire station in Soldotna when he was 13, will be honored at a Real Heroes Breakfast in Anchorage on April 19.
The award does not single out any one specific act of heroism by Thompson. Instead, it recognizes his many hours of volunteering at the firehouse as a young teen, his four years with the CES Explorers during which he rapidly rose to the rank of captain and his on-call volunteer service as a firefighter and emergency medical technician.
Thompson will be among 13 Alaskans receiving Real Heroes awards at the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel. He will be the sole recipient of the Fire Rescue Award.
Other awards given annually by the Red Cross include the Youth and Adult Good Samaritan, Community Safety, Friends' Hero, Marine Rescue and Military Rescue awards.
One award this year will be given to a canine, according to Kelly Hurd, spokesperson for the American Red Cross.
Hurd said a family's pet alerted its owners to a house fire during 2004, allowing all members of the family to escape safely.
Thompson was selected for the Fire Rescue Award by a committee consisting of Red Cross board members and civic leaders from across the state.
When asked if he was personally involved in any heroic rescues, Thompson said he's been involved in a few rescues, including that of a boy found on the shore of Skilak Lake last year after the family's moving van broke through the ice. But Thompson said the rescues he's been involved with have always been team efforts.
"If it happens, it's not just because of me," he said.
Thompson said most of his volunteer work with CES started with assisting Fire Marshal Gary Hale with Hale's traveling fire prevention puppet show.
Hale and his wife, Sharon, dress up as clowns and deliver fire prevention messages to children throughout the Kenai Peninsula. The clowns perform in front of a puppet show, with Thompson as one of the puppeteers.
"I don't do any clowning yet," he said.
"I probably will be up front one day."
Thompson will attend the award ceremony in Anchorage with his fiancee, Amanda Lynn, who nominated him for the award.
Also attending will be Lynn's and Thompson's parents, as well as Hale and Assistant Fire Marshal Gordon Orth.
Thompson, who is employed full-time as a floor care technician at Central Peninsula General Hospital, plans to continue his paramedic training, working toward being a full-time paramedic-firefighter.
He is considering attending a paramedical technologies course of study at Kenai Peninsula College beginning this fall, and working toward an associate's degree, he said.
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