News Article

Feb 22, 2018

Tennessee VFW names City firefighter Firefighter of the Year

The Johnson City Fire Department (JCFD) is proud to announce that Firefighter Kevin Colbaugh has been named the 2017 Firefighter of the Year for the State of Tennessee by the Tenn. Veterans of Foreign Wars (TVFW). Colbaugh received this honor Saturday, Feb.10, at the TVFW Mid-Winter Conference in Murfreesboro, Tenn. He was selected from among an extensive list of nominees located throughout the organization’s 11 districts.

Colbaugh was nominated by JCFD Lt. Wade Hardin for his selfless dedication to the fire service as both a volunteer and career service member. He is well known for his contagious enthusiasm and genuine concern for others. Colbaugh said, “I thank God for the privilege and opportunity to serve in the greatest profession on this earth. People ask me how long I’ve been a firefighter. My response - I was born a firefighter, that’s what God created me to be.”

“Kevin is truly deserving of this recognition,” said JCFD Chief James Stables. “In my short tenure here, I have witnessed countless examples of his selfless nature and his earnest desire to encourage others as a coach, mentor, and confidant. Kevin’s contributions to our community have played a significant role in supporting our extraordinary team of firefighters who provide excellent service to the residents and visitors of Johnson City.”

Colbaugh began his career in public service in 1990 as a volunteer firefighter for Stoney Creek, where he remains an active member. Five years later, he branched out into emergency medical services as a paramedic for Washington County/Johnson City Emergency Medical Services. Following eight years of service there, Colbaugh joined Carter County Emergency Medical Services for four years. In 2007, the Veterans Administration in Johnson City called on him to begin a telemedicine program. That move led to his transition to JCFD in 2013.

Throughout his career, Colbaugh has received several awards of distinction. In 1995, he was bestowed Tennessee’s highest honor from then-Gov. Don Sundquist – the Colonel Aide de Camp. This honor recognized Colbaugh’s heroic actions responding to a tragic automobile accident at the Watauga River.

Colbaugh is very active in the JCFD, participating in many departmental activities including various special projects, task forces, and the Medical Quality Assurance Program, where he continues to leverage his education and experience as a firefighter and paramedic.

CONTACT: Chief James Stables
Johnson City Fire Department

[Photo - from left to right: Vincent “BJ” Lawrence, Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief of US VFW; Kevin Colbaugh; George “Mike” Scott, State Commander of TVFW]

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