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Todd Stanley awarded top firefighting honor by his peers

POTTERSVILLE - A firefighter who as a teenager inspired the Pottersville Fire Department to start a junior firefighter program in 2003 was recently accorded the agency's highest honor.

Todd Stanley, now an experienced Lieutenant in the Department, was named Firefighter of the Year of the Pottersville Volunteer Fire Department at its annual banquet held Jan. 9.

Fire Chief Guy Swartwout praised Todd Stanley for his dedication and tenure with the department.

"This award recognizes his leadership, his work in adding to the quality of department training and operations, encouraging and helping other members, the quality of what he personally does, his commitment, his concern for the people of his community and the contribution he makes to their welfare," Swartwout said.

In 2002, as a 17-year-old, Stanley had approached the department officials and asked them if a Junior Firefighter designation could be launched within the agency, or at least form an affiliated Explorer Scout troop.

With Stanley's prompting, a Junior Firefighter designation was started in the Department to allow teens as young as 16 to join. Then in February 2003, Stanley became the first of his age to join, Swartwout said.

"He immediately showed an amazing level of interest and desire and willingness to learn and, over the next couple of years gained skill and the respect of his older fellow members," he said noting that Stanley had served as an example with others with many more years of service.

Swartwout noted Stanley, with enthusiasm, signed up for advanced firefighter training courses, and his dedicated service to the fire department as a youth earned him a Rookie of the Year award.

Swartwout said Stanley left the ranks of the agency for a while, but returned at the beginning of 2009.

"He again was ready to prove himself an enormous asset to the work of the Department and the welfare of his community," Swartwout said, noting Stanley immediately demonstrated leadership, conducting drills, offering suggestions to improve training, as well as leading scene operations - attributes which prompted agency officials to appoint him Lieutenant.

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