A firefighter from Hamlet received multiple awards last month.
The Wrightsville Beach Fire Department held its 97th annual Christmas Dinner and Awards Ceremony in December at the Oceanic Restaurant.
This event, which is sponsored by the Wrightsville Beach Volunteer Firefighters Association, provides an opportunity to thank all of the firefighters for their service to the community during the past year. Several firefighters were recognized for exceptional achievements.
Firefighter Garrett McQueen, formerly of Hamlet, received the Service Commendation Award recognizing his consistent and outstanding service supporting the department’s mission. He is the son of Jesse and Wanda McQueen of Hamlet.
Firefighters McQueen, Trey Shipp and Jeffrey Williams received “200 Club” Awards for attending over 200 hours of fire service training during the past year.
“I have also earned the North Carolina certification as an EMT-Basic in 2012,” said McQueen. “Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 I graduated from probation as a Wrightsville Beach Firefighter. Probation is a year’s time from when I started at WBFD that included extra training and supervision as a Probationary Firefighter.”
The Wilmington Fire Department provided an engine company that stood by at the Wrightsville Beach fire station during the dinner so that all WBFD personnel could attend the event.
“He has always wanted to help his community and his mom and I are very proud of him,” said Jesse McQueen. “Garrett leaves this Saturday on a mission trip to Nicaragua, we are very proud of this also. He also attended the N.C. Student Trooper school a few years ago at the NCHP training center in Raleigh. He is also an Eagle Scout. He received the Officer Richard Matthews memorial scholarship for Spring 2013.”
According to Jesse McQueen, his son chose his profession a long time ago.
“He always wanted to be a firefighter,” said his father. “But his ambition is to be a federal law officer.”
Garrett McQueen is 19 years old. He said it was easy for him to choose his profession.
“My whole family is in law enforcement and ever since I was little I always wanted to make a difference,” said Garrett. “I felt like I was called to public service. I want to help everyone, even the bad guys because I know some of them can’t help it and they need help, too.”
Garrett said his ultimate goal is to work in federal law enforcement.
“Keeping that goal in front of me motivates me to do my best and knowing God is always there for me,” he said. “It’s not easy, but it will all work out pretty soon.”
Garrett is on his way to Nicaragua this weekend, as part of a Mission Friends team. He said Mission Friends is made up of all kinds of Christians who work together on teams for medical outreach, Bible school, construction and veterinarian work.
“I’ll be using my EMT certification,” said Garrett. “I’m really excited about it. They sure need it down there. It will be my first time out of the country using what I’ve learned.”
Garrett is interning as an EMT with the Wrightsville Beach Fire Department while he attends college, and he rides out on the medical truck to get experience when he is on his shift. He graduated from Richmond Senior High School in 2011.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.