BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Biloxi Fire Department recognized the men and women who put their lives on the line every day in the inaugural awards ceremony. More than 180 people were honored for their acts of bravery and service to others. The firefighters spend their career in harm's way, but on Monday night they spent it under the spotlight.
"We want to recognize, not only our members, who risk their lives every day, but members of the community and businesses in the community that support us all through the year," said Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney.
From Hurricane Nate to a horrific charter bus crash in Biloxi, 2017 was a dangerous year for Biloxi firefighters.
"Their quick thinking, professionalism and skill aided in the swift overall mitigation of the incident," said Biloxi Spokesperson Vincent Creel.
In addition to Biloxi firefighters, D'Iberville firefighters, Harrison County Sheriff's Department, and other first responders even good Samaritans were honored for acts of bravery.
"The day of the train accident I pulled up next to the bus and it was too high. So, I pulled my car up next to the bus and jumped on the car and jumped in the bus," said John Kemp who was honored for being a civilian, who assisted victims in the charter bus crash last year.
Family and friends watched proudly as awards and medals were given out.
"It does a lot for their morale but it also shows the community the importance of these firefighters," said Chief Boney.
"To be able to receive and be recognized for the work that they've done and the hard work they put towards the city we do see a lot. We go through a lot and it does mean a lot to have our morals lifted up a little bit," said firefighter Joseph Bates.
The job they do comes with extraordinary challenges, but it also comes with a major perk --saving lives.
The organizations that support the Biloxi Fire Department were also recognized during the ceremony.
Charles Hebert was named Firefighter of the Year for rescuing a family of four in the water near their capsized boat.