LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Each year the Lubbock Fire Department takes nominations for outstanding Firefighter of the Year. It's an honor Interim Fire Chief Mike Kemp says is difficult to hand out because there are so many deserving men and women.
It's been his dream since his junior year in high school to be a firefighter. Nathan Klatt knew he wanted to help people and humbly says there are others more deserving of this honor. "I didn't know I was getting this award until about five minutes ago," he says.
Klatt's proud wife Brooke could hardly keep the secret. "I don't keep secrets from him so I was more worried about me spilling the beans than anyone else. When we were talking about the day I had to just walk away from him," says Brooke Klatt.
"This is an award where his peers looked at how this person does his job," says LFD Deputy Chief Chris Anger. "You have to look hard to find someone who rises above everyone else and that's difficult to do," says Interim Fire Chief Mike Kemp.
Before a room full of family and fellow firefighters, Hale Center native Nathan Klatt was honored as outstanding firefighter of 2009. "I'm truly honored. I never expected or dreamed this could happen. There are so many guys who are way more deserving then I am so I take it in honor," adds Klatt as he accepted the award.
Chief Kemp says Klatt's character, professionalism and dedication to making a difference sets the 26-year-old apart."It's exciting when you can take someone who hasn't been on that long and is doing such a good job and setting such a good example," adds Chief Kemp.
In Klatt's nomination form, Station #9 Lt. Nick Wilson wrote, "Not only is he what the public expects from a firefighter but he exceeds high expectations we put on our own."
"He came to my crew as a rookie fresh out of school knowing nothing about fire service and five years later he's been promoted to equipment operator. He is someone you want working for you, beside you and with you," says Lt. Wilson.
Klatt says he is truly honored someone thinks that highly of him.
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