Firefighter Jeremy Edmonds has been with the Asheville Fire Department since 1997, and in July, he became a captain.
But an additional professional milestone came on Aug. 22, when the North Carolina Firemen's Association named him firefighter of the year, out of about 44,000 firefighters in the state.
In an official announcement, Interim Fire Chief Scott Burnette congratulated Edmonds. "Jeremy's recognition is well deserved," Burnette said. "It reflects well not only on him, but as an example of all Asheville firefighters who work toward continuous improvement for themselves and for the department."
After taking an EMT class in high school and finding it "a good fit," Edmonds joined the Enka-Candler volunteer fire department in 1992 and later moved to Asheville. He describes winning the award as "humbling."
"We've got some good leadership here, and strong support from the city management," Edmonds told Xpress of the Asheville Fire Department. "There's some very good people in this department, and they're serious about working together."
Their task can be a challenging one, he said, because "no two days are alike. You're constantly adapting to change. You can go on one call with a death, and the next call you're really helping someone out, making a difference. It's always going from one extreme to another. Firefighters have to be a lot to a lot of people."
Rising to that challenge, he says, requires "keeping an eye out for opportunities for improvement, not just for yourself, but for others, and thinking about what you can do for them."