The recipients of the 2018 Governor’s Fire Service Awards were announced recently, with Capt. Michael Irvine awarded Virginia Volunteer Firefighter of the Year at the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association Conference.
Irvine received the award as part of his work with Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department. He started as a volunteer junior firefighter with Oak Grove when he was 17. Ten years later, he continues his work with them as well as his duties as a firefighter/medic at Fort Belvoir. He’s worked at Fort Belvoir for four years.
He is appreciative of the support he’s received from his peers, he said, as it can sometimes be a thankless job.
“It still comes as a bit of a shock,” Irvine said. “I don’t do it for the recognition.”
Irvine was previously awarded Fort Belvoir Firefighter of the Year during the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce’s 12th Annual Police & Firefighters Tribute in November 2018.
“I’m lucky enough to have one of the best jobs in the world helping my fellow man and woman,” he said.
His inspiration for becoming a firefighter was his dad who also worked as a firefighter. Irvine said he enjoys helping others and giving back to his community.
“Every day Virginia’s Fire Service professionals display an unwavering commitment to protect the citizens of our Commonwealth in times of danger,” said Governor Ralph Northam in a press release. “These brave men and women, like Lieutenant Brad Clark who tragically lost his life last year responding to a vehicle crash, show tremendous strength and dedication, going above and beyond the call of duty, and we are proud to recognize their honorable service.”
The Governor’s Fire Service Awards began in 2002. Winners are nominated and then selected by the Executive Committee of the Virginia Fire Services Board. Recommendations are then sent to the governor through the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security for approval, according to the Virginia Department of Fire Programs website.