Gulfport Exchange Club Honors Firefighters

They are everyday heroes who accept the danger that often comes with helping others.

Firefighters are receiving newfound respect since the tragedy of September 11th.

Tuesday, the Gulfport Exchange Club took time to recognize the "firefighters of the year" from Gulfport, Long Beach and Pass Christian. And those who received the honors, appreciate the show of support.

"This comes from Gulfport, but it comes from every firefighter on the gulf coast. We appreciate what you're doing for us. We appreciate the love you've shown us. We appreciate the honor," said Gulfport fire chief, Pat Sullivan, as the Exchange Club presented the honors.

Three coast firefighters were recognized by the service organization.

Sullivan chief accepted the honor on behalf of firefighter, Alan Agent.

"Alan is the kind of guy that you can be proud that you're giving this award to. Because he deserves it," said Chief Sullivan.

David Slatten became a Pass Christian firefighter less than five years ago. His boss praised Slatten's dedication.

"He's always at work. He doesn't call in sick. He's there. He's somebody you can depend on," said Pass Christian fire chief, Richard Marvil.

David Slatten was initially attracted to this career by the adrenaline rush that often accompanies fighting fires. He says the real satisfaction comes in helping others.

"Being able to come out of their predicament alive or being able to save someone's house and their belongings. Their personal property. And the fact that they are so appreciative of it," said Slatten.

Perhaps more than ever, Americans now appreciate all firefighters.

David Marshall became a Long Beach fireman 21 years ago. He's always enjoyed the job, but there's been so much more public recognition since 9-11.

"Heroes or whatever they want to call us. We're there for them. And that's what we're here for. To protect them and save their property. We're there for their well being," said Marshall.

It's simply part of the job, for a group of dedicated men.