Each year fire chief Cheryl Allen of the Russellville Rural Fire Department chooses a firefighter who stands out as setting good examples, displaying integrity and dedication to the fire department and community. A person who goes above the call in so many ways. Captain Joe Harlan has taken this honor for the 2015. Harlan is a state certified firefighter with 1,804 hours of training.
“Joe has been with us for 23 years, and is steady as the Oak. That is how I describe him to others,” said Allen. “He is a mostly quiet, gentle soul who seems to always be there when you look up. And in the mist of trouble he is my rock. He is the fire department’s rock.”
Harlan has been a firefighter for numerous years and it is a very important job to him. When others may be upset at a scene, said Allen, the other firefighters look at him and he gives a calming without saying a word.
“His great statue demands respect and gives you assurance,” Allen added. “He is a Godly presence and even though he seems quite, he is always thinking and coming up with ways to bring calm, and solve issues that arise from time to time.”
According to Allen, Joe has been there for her and the department as a friend, a firefighter, a captain, and an advisor.
“I treasure his heart and the love he has for others. Since my father passed away several years ago he has been my father. I as well as others know all they have to do is call and he will be there,” Allen said. “The firefighters have great respect for him and that is why he deserves ‘Firefighter of the Year.’ He is the example of what a firefighter should strive to be. He is the example of what our fire department stands for… God, love, caring, friend, brother, integrity, honesty, and loyalty.”
Allen said she always tells her firefighters to always know why they are here. She said it’s not about the patch, the red lights or the uniform, it’s about being a servant to the community and making a difference to those in need.
“Being a firefighter and first responder is not something you do…it’s something you are,” said Allen.
Other awards and recognition given out by the Russellville Rural Fire Department were as follows:
2015 Passion & Pride Award went to firefighter James Kemp. Kemp has been an active member of the department since 2010.
“This firefighter serves his fire department with passion and pride,” said Allen. “When you think of continuous commitment that describes him.”
Kemp is a state certified firefighter with 568 hours of training.
Assistant Fire Chief Travis Kodiak was recognized by the department for outstanding service. Travis has been a member of the department since 2006. He was appointed assistant chief just this last year, but his service has been outstanding way before then, said Allen.
“Travis serves his fire department with much passion. When you think of continuous commitment that describes him. He is here in the office doing the reports making sure all the required paper work is in order. He takes care the small stuff that could be big stuff if not taken care of,” Allen stated
To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.