FORSYTH COUNTY — Local firefighters put their lives on the line daily. Friday night, they were honored for that sacrifice.
The Forsyth County Fire Department held its annual awards and promotion ceremonies and EMT and recruit class graduations at North Forsyth High School.
The night featured several speakers and presentations, but perhaps the most touching was Tracy Boone. In December 2013, she was involved in a near fatal house fire. She returned a year later to thank her rescuers.
“I found out the firefighter who dragged me out of the bedroom floor was literally christened by fire fresh out of the academy,” Boone said. “I owe my life to each and every man and woman that ran to my rescue that faithful day. Without your bravery, I wouldn’t be able to celebrate with you tonight.”
The event honored 16 firefighters with Unit Citations, and 39 with Life Saved awards. In addition the department gave out rare Medal of Honor awards to Lt. Todd Sliger and firefighters Robert Eubanks and Chris Smith. The department previously awarded just one medal.
“We had the second, third and fourth tonight,” said Division Chief Jason Shivers. “We gave the other one out many years ago.”
Seven of the awards, including the three medals, were related to saving Boone.
Another special speaker, who congratulated the new recruits as they were promoted to probationary firefighters, was Milton Fire Chief Robert Edgar.
“Congratulations to all our new firefighters. I say ‘our’ firefighters because you’re now part of this brotherhood,” Edgar said. “You may not see the day-to-day successes, but they are there. Learn something new about this job every day and train, train, train. Wear your uniform with pride.”
Of the 100 applicants, just 11 recruits became firefighters. They went by the nickname Mudd Dawgs.
The Mudd Dawgs prepared a video of their 360 hours of training exercises, including carry logs, putting out fires and other methods, set to Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”
The event also featured the graduation of 14 EMTs in the department’s first such school of the modern era, and Lt. Shane Milford’s promotion to captain, volunteer coordinator.