POTTERSVILLE - Well-known local citizen and long-time emergency responder Duane Agard was named Firefighter of the Year recently by the Pottersville Fire District Board of Commissioners. The award was presented at the Pottersville Volunteer Fire Department's annual banquet by Eugene Dutcher, Chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners.
Agard was selected for the honor because of his long and distinguished service to the Department, to its members individually, to other community organizations, and to Pottersville as a whole, according to Pottersville Fire Chief Guy Swartwout.
"Not the least of these was Duane Agard's record of 56 years of continuous, active service," Swartwout said. "As noted in the citation with the award he received, every one of those years was filled with drills and meetings and maintenance work and responses to incidents - truly active service through those years."
Agard was described as an exemplary representative of the fire department in the community and in fire service throughout Warren County - an outstanding role model for others to follow.
Agard served as a captain and is a past Chief of the Department. He has also served as a District Commissioner for many years. In that capacity, he played an important part in the new firehouse that serves the Pottersville District, Swartwout said.
In the letter Swartwout penned nominating Agard for the award, the Fire Chief said that in reviewing Agard's career with the fire department, the single word that best describes it is "influence."
"No other member has had the measure of influence Duane Agard has had, no one has made as much of a difference as he has, or had a greater part in the success of the Department and what it has grown to be," Swartwout said. "We trust he is proud of what he helped build and of the vital, commendable service he has performed."
Other awards were also given at the banquet. Fred Griffen Jr. was acknowledged for 20 years of service, Jeff Finch for 15 years, Lyn Swartwout for 10 years, and Tom VanPelt for five years. All of these awards were for service with Pottersville. Including time with other fire departments, Finch's tenure of service is 27 years and VanPelt's is 16.
Also, awards and gifts were presented at the banquet to the five fire company members with the most incident responses during the year. Fifth place was earned by Gene Carman, fourth by Mike Ferguson, third by Jeff Finch, second by Lyn Swartwout, and first by Don Singleton.