For Hometown News
ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- Lewis Clanton and John Noelke were named Firefighter of the Year and Civilian Employee of the Year, respectively, by the St. Lucie County Fire District. The two were honored at a recent fire board meeting.
Lt. Clanton joined the St. Lucie County Fire Department in 1989. He is currently stationed at Fire Station No. 3 on Ravenswood Lane in Port St. Lucie. He serves on the Operations Committee and is team leader for B-shift with the Rescue Boat.
"He is highly motivated and extremely professional, which he instills into the members of his crew," said Fire Chief Ron Parrish.
Chief Parrish noted that motivation resulted in the Fire Station contributing 5,435 pounds of food at the last One Day to Give food drive.
"He has made the food drive into a fun competition for all the stations," said Chief Parrish
"It is truly an honor to be recognized by the Fire District," said Lt. Clanton
John Noelke has been with the Fire District since January 1997. He works in one of the busiest locations - the shop. The fleet maintenance crew works to keep fire engines, rescue trucks and other fire district vehicles on the road. Mr. Noelke is a specialist in truck fabrication, taking apparatus from a standard vehicle to something which can safely hold and store fire district tools and emergency medical equipment.
Mr. Noelke worked on the Tender, a 6,000 tanker which came from the Forestry Service and needed to be retrofitted to make it usable for the Fire District. That Tender was instrumental in the Fire District receiving an improved ISO rating, which lowered insurance rates for many properties in St. Lucie County.
"John was involved in creating the Sept. 11 memorial at the Administration offices," said Chief Parrish. "He invested time and effort to make this project a reality. He acquired donated steel from various organizations. That steel was rough and rusty, but he worked on it to make it impressive and solid - and able to support the weight of the World Trade Center piece."
"There are still times I walk through the shop or a fire station and I can't believe I work for the Fire District," said Mr. Noelke. "I appreciate the job and don't take it for granted."