The 2010 Firefighter of the Year award was presented to Francis by Jane Ruiter, an Ottawa County commissioner. Ruiter said Francis was chosen for his extensive training. He has taken classes in firefighting and dealing with hazardous materials during his four years with the force, and is a licensed medical first-responder, she said.
“He’s also active in everyday operations — from washing and waxing the fire trucks to building maintenance,” and other duties, Ruiter said.
Francis is always willing to lend a hand for projects, the county commissioner added.
During the weekday, Francis works as the head of the advertising department at the Tribune. The 39-year-old Grand Haven resident is married and a father to three children.
Most of the 19-man Ferrysburg fire crew was present to see Francis receive the award Monday night.
“Any one of those guys could win this award,” Francis said after stepping out of the meeting.
Francis’ family swooped in just before Ruiter handed him the award. Francis — who works as director of the Grand Haven Tribune’s advertising department — said he was honored to receive the award.
During the public comment period at Monday’s council meeting, Roger Easton took the opportunity to thank the city’s firefighters for coming to his aid when he had a medical emergency. The Ferrysburg resident said members of the department “peeled me off my driveway” and got him to the hospital in December 2010.
Councilwoman Regina Sjoberg said she was pleased with the force’s service to the city.
“I always say we have the absolute best firefighters in any community,” she said.