Jeff Allbee is Farmington's Firefighter of the Year
Get firefighter Jeff Allbee talking about the Farmington Fire Department Fire Relief Association, and he'll go on at great length. Ask him about being named Firefighter of the Year for 2011, though, and he's not quite so talkative.
That's the way Allbee is - he's a dedicated firefighter who puts in about 15 hours of his personal time to volunteer with the department each week, but he's not a guy who likes to go on and on about himself.
A lieutenant at Station 2, Albee was recognized Firefighter of the Year during Friday's FFD annual meeting. Allbee knew he would receive an award for having completed five years of service. He didn't know, though, that he'd get a much bigger honor later in the evening.
"I didn't know it was me until (chief Tim Pietsch) said my name," Allbee said. "I didn't think it was going to be. I'm really honored that it was, but there are several other people on the department I could have easily seen getting the award."
Allbee was one of several firefighters nominated this year, Pietsch said. All of them were good candidates, but Allbee's performance and dedication to the department earned him the distinction.
"When we took a look back at 2011, the decision was quite simple. Jeff has really picked up his game. He's done an awful lot for the betterment of the department as a whole," Pietsch said.
Allbee is a member of the rescue squad. He's also president of the Fire Relief Association. In that capacity, Pietsch said, Allbee has developed good relationships with city staff and council members, and he's helped city officials understand the relief association's needs and objectives.
"I think he's done a lot of work for us. That just strengthens those relations and gets everybody on the same page," Pietsch said.
Allbee had lived in Farmington for a little more than a year when he heard the fire department was looking to hire on-call firefighters. He'd wanted to be a firefighter since he was a child, and figured it might also be a good opportunity to meet some people in his new community. He applied, took the tests and was hired. It was a win-win decision, all around.
Allbee plans to stay with the department for several years, and hopes to eventually move into higher officer positions. But for now, he's just flattered he was chosen by his peers to receive the award.
"I love being a firefighter," he said. "The camaraderie is excellent. The guys I work with are amazing. They're a great group of people.
"I'm very excited, very honored. The nice part is you're selected by your fellow firefighters. They decide who should be given the award, so it's exciting to be nominated from your fellow workers."