Congratulations to Captain Ray Elmore and Firefighter Jonathan Teague for being recognized at the 2012 Iredell County Firefighter's Association Banquet. This year's event was held at the Black Angus in Statesville.
Firefighter Teague was recognized with the A.Y. Neel Piedmont Mutual Insurance Co. Firefighter of the Year for Iredell County.
Teague not only collected the Firefighter of the Year plaque, given in honor of the late A.Y. Neel, a charter member of Lake Norman Fire Department and a longtime representative of Piedmont Mutual Insurance, but he earned another special honor at the Iredell County Firefighters Association banquet Saturday night. Teague was recognized as the Randy N. Jones Medical Responder of the Year. The award is named in honor of Jones, a Cool Springs firefighter and Iredell County Rescue Squad member who died in a car wreck responding to a fire in 2003.
Todd Bowers and Andy Webster and friends of Randy Jones presented the award and said Teague exemplifies the example set by Jones. "He has compassion for his patients and he's a patient advocate," Webster said. "He is always there day or night to answer a call."
Webster said Teague handles each call in a professional manner and manages a smile even if the patient isn't always receptive to being helped.
He called Teague a dedicated member at Cool Springs, and like Jones, he strives to be the go-to guy for the younger, and sometimes veteran, responders. "He tries to set a good example for his younger peers," Webster said.
Teague, collecting his first award of the night, said he didn't know the man the award is named for, but he was thrilled with the honor. "I am privileged to accept this award and I thank you," he said.
Matt McAlpin, secretary of the association and a former recipient of the Firefighter of the Year award, talked about Teague's contributions to Cool Springs and the fire service.
He said Teague joined Cool Springs in 2007 and was honored as its Rookie of the Year in 2010.
Fellow firefighters described Teague as someone they can count on to do whatever needs to be done. "He is a good firefighter and even a better friend," one said in the nomination letter.
Two of A.Y. Neel's sons, Ray and Jack, both retired volunteer firefighters, and his grandson, Ryan Laney, who is also a firefighter, presented the award to Teague.
Teague wasn't the only member of his family to receive recognition. Troutman resident and former county commissioner Frances Murdock sponsors an award for the backbone of most firefighters — their spouses.
"We have a backbone and that's our families," McAlpin said as he called Teague's wife, Anna, up to accept her award.
Cool Springs Fire Department earned the hat trick Saturday when one of its officers, Ray Elmore, was recognized as Officer of the Year in an award sponsored by Don and Debbie Blood of Honorcraft, Bill Brater and Bunch-Johnson Funeral Home and local attorney Alex Mendaloff.
Elmore joined County Line Fire Department in 1996 and later joined Cool Springs. His nomination letter described him as a man who is always ready to help with any project, and has taken the lead in training and puts together public relations events for the department.
Elmore said the award was a surprise. "I wasn't expecting this. I don't know what to say. I appreciate this," he said.
Association President Tim Warren said this is the first time one department claimed all three major awards. He said there was no collusion in the record. "Nobody sitting in this room judged these applications," he said. The applications were judged by fire officials in other counties.
-Above information courtesy of Donna Swicegood, Statesville Record & Landmark, 4/16/2012