By Stephanie K. Moran
The Winchester Star
A 10-year veteran of the Winchester Fire and Rescue Department is the Winchester Exchange Club’s Firefighter of the Year.
Firefighter and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Specialist Kevin Duckwall was named this year’s recipient in a Monday afternoon ceremony at Travelodge of Winchester on Front Royal Pike.
Duckwall, a career Winchester Fire and Rescue Department firefighter assigned to the Shawnee Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company, was chosen from a field of five nominees. Only one of the nominees was able to attend Monday’s event.
Although Duckwall was not present, his accomplishments, along with those of his fellow nominees, were outlined by the Exchange Club’s Becky Merriner.
Among Duckwall’s many achievements is one which netted him and his fellow members of Shawnee’s EMS team a nomination for the Governor’s Award for Excellence in EMS, Merriner said.
The event that put Duckwall and the team into award contention occurred on April 20, when the team successfully resuscitated a clinically dead electrocution victim, Merriner stated.
Winchester Fire and Rescue Department Chief Lynn Miller said the victim was working on elevated equipment and came in contact with an electrical transmission line. The voltage sent the victim into cardiac arrest.
According to Merriner, the man whose life was saved by the team led by Duckwall was released from Winchester Medical Center five days after the incident and returned to work a week after his discharge.
Miller, who accepted the award on Duckwall’s behalf, spoke highly of Duckwall’s actions on April 20, as well as the actions of others in the department, stating, “Typically, this is the way our people perform.”
Merriner said Duckwall doesn’t just devote his time to the Winchester Fire and Rescue Department, but also maintains his membership in the Berkeley Springs (W.Va.) Volunteer Rescue Squad, which is where he started his fire and rescue career as an emergency medical technician.
Miller said it was unfortunate that there’s only one award for five nominees.
The firefighters nominated for this year’s award along with Duckwall were Lt. Kevin Yost of the Winchester Fire and Rescue Department, David Whitacre of Frederick County’s Millwood Station Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company, Winchester’s South End Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company Chief William S. Moreland, and Tami Cunningham of Frederick County’s Greenwood Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company.
Moreland, who is also a career firefighter with Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Services, was on hand for the ceremony and received a round of applause when presented his nomination certificate.
Although the winner and three of his fellow nominees were not present, each received applause in their honor. Miller explained their absence, calling firefighters a different breed of people who don’t really need that much attention for their work.