Valdosta officer selected for National Firefighter of Year -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta officer selected for National Firefighter of Year

American Legion National Commander Clarence Hill presents the award to Marcus Haynes American Legion National Commander Clarence Hill presents the award to Marcus Haynes

From the City of Valdosta

Valdosta, GA - Firefighter Marcus Haynes was honored as the National Firefighter of the Year by the American Legion, at their Sept. 1 annual National Convention, in Milwaukee, Wis. 

Earlier this year, Haynes was also named the Firefighter of the Year for the City of Valdosta and the American Legion's Firefighter of the Year for the Southeast Region.

This year is the first year the American Legion has named a national recipient of the award.  Haynes was selected as the inaugural recipient of the prestigious award in recognition of his community service, professional achievements, and his role in helping to safeguard life and property.

"Marcus, who was recently promoted to the rank of sergeant, is extremely self-motivated and is a major contributor to the success of Engine Company 2 and the Valdosta Fire Department," said Valdosta Fire Chief J. D. Rice. "His thirst for knowledge, willingness to work hard, and attention to details are some of his strongest attributes.  He demonstrates daily the professional standards for which all firefighters should emulate. Firefighter Haynes is without a doubt one of our finest employees—on and off the job—and is most deserving of this prominent award."

Since joining the city as a firefighter in 2007, Haynes has quickly become an accomplished firefighter.  Among other achievements, he is State of Georgia certified, Public Fire Educator certified, Relief Driver certified, Hazmat Awareness certified, and is a certified member of the Regional Georgia Search and Rescue (GSAR) Task Force II Team. 

During a major structure fire in October 2009, Haynes demonstrated heroism when assigned to the Rapid Intervention Team--responsible for the rescue of firefighters in the event they become trapped or in danger.  While a team of firefighters worked on the second floor of a two-story structure, the floor gave way and one of the firefighters was trapped. 

Haynes was one of the firefighters who entered the structure, made his way to what was left of the second floor, and rescued the trapped firefighter.  According to Chief Rice, Haynes' sense of urgency and calm demeanor made this a successful rescue without any injury to his team or the trapped firefighter.

Haynes is also an active member of the Greater Saint James Missionary Baptist Church, where he serves on the Youth Advisory Committee, Church Taping Ministry, Praise Team Ministry, and is a vocalist in the male chorus.  He donates countless hours to the youth in the community by coaching little league football, participating in Career Day at the local middle schools, mentoring elementary school children in the Community Partner's in Education (CPIE) program and coordinating the annual Community Easter Egg Hunt for hundreds of area children to enjoy.

"The Valdosta City Fire Department is a great place to work," said Firefighter Haynes. "The dedication to excellence and commitment to responsibility is second to none. I never thought that by doing what I love to do—which is helping others—I would be recognized in such a wonderful way.  I'm truly honored by this award."

Haynes is married to Chablis Ranee Haynes, and the couple is expecting their first child in March 2011.

The City of Valdosta applauds Firefighter Marcus Haynes for his local, regional and national achievements and his dedication to the Valdosta community.

IN PHOTO:  (from left) American Legion National Commander Clarence Hill, Valdosta Fire Chief J. D. Rice, Mrs. Mechelle Rice, Valdosta Firefighter Marcus Haynes and Mrs. Chablis Ranee Haynes pose for a photo after Firefighter Haynes was honored as the National Firefighter of the Year, at a Sept. 1 convention, in Milwaukee, Wis.

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