East Carolina University employee Charles Suggs, a crew leader in moving services, was awarded Pitt County Firefighter of the Year during a special ceremony on Jan. 19.
Suggs has worked at ECU for 12 years and been a volunteer firefighter for 14 years. He is a deputy chief with the Grifton Fire Department. Suggs was selected as Grifton’s Firefighter of the Year, which put him in the running for the countywide honor.
The Firefighter of the Year award is presented annually to a firefighter who has demonstrated outstanding support and leadership to their department and the community. The selection committee was made up of fire service representatives outside of Pitt County.
Suggs spent nine days working with the department’s chief during the flooding after Hurricane Matthew, answering calls for service, coordinating staff and organizing search and rescue efforts with outside agencies traveling to assist Grifton. In addition to rescue efforts, he helped evacuate the Grifton Fire Department, which is prone to flooding and helped citizens move to higher ground as the floodwaters approached.
Suggs said his parents instilled in him the importance of helping the community.
“I got involved when I was young to have something to do and I fell in love with the true meaning of what serving is all about,” said Suggs.
He encourages people to get involved with their local volunteer fire departments.
“Become a volunteer firefighter or support your local department. We need more volunteers at our departments in Pitt County,” said Suggs.
-by Jamie Smith