Jackson named ‘Firefighter of the Year’

Published 9:10 am Monday, September 19, 2011

Helen Jackson has only been with the Appleton Volunteer Department, but she has not been wasting any time. She was nominated and selected as Female Firefighter of the year (2011) for Escambia County a few weeks back and then a few weeks ago she won Female Firefighter of the Year (2011) for the State of Alabama.
“Helen has only been with Appleton Volunteer Fire Department for one year but since the day she joined our department she has not stopped running,” said Michael Tyler in his letter of recommendation. “She has been exceptional in responding to 146 calls for a 68 percent turnout rate. He desire to make sure all the responses were successful; and we were ready for the next call is evident by her always being the last one to leave an incident making sure the equipment is replaced, hoses are cleaned and pumpers are filled.”
Jackson completed 174 hours of training in the last 12 months. She had concluded classes in CPR, AED, First Responder, Mobile Fire Suppression (burn trailer), Mass Casualty Incident Triage, Closed POD training, 40 hour certified Fire Inspector I, Emergency Vehicle Operator and is currently attending the Certified 160 Volunteer Firefighter Course maintaining a 90 average.
“My interest in volunteering was because of a family member that had a medical emergency,” Jackson said. “I approached Ginny Tyler and Danita Smith about volunteering and they said they could certainly use me. My son, Zack Chavers, also wanted to join up. He is a senior at W.S. Neal High School and he wanted to get involved.
“The first time I showed up for for a meeting, so I got off to a good start. I was shown around the fire station and given a tour of the truck. The fire department is always looking for more volunteers to come out to support the community and that is something I wanted to do.
“Every year, the fire department submits a name for recognition in the county and the winner’s name is submitted state wide” she added. “We had the state meeting in Fairhope this year. I am still working on my 160 hours in haz mat. We get 25 to 30 calls a month at the station and I keep my beeper on me at all times. I really enjoy working with all the folks at the station.”
Appleton Volunteer Fire Department Chief Michael Tyler said there are lots more in operating a fire station than answering calls and training.
“Firefighter Jackson has completed hose test, hydrant test, equipment inventories and equipment inspections,” Tyler said. “She has been a valuable asset during all of our fundraising events, especially in the last fundraising event when she was able to raise over $1,500.
“She has raised the level of teamwork to a higher standard in the department, and has gain the respect of many other firefighters in the county.
“For these reasons and many others not mentioned, we believe she deserved the Female Volunteer Firefighter of the Year.”