VFW Awards Firefighter of the Year to Capt. Steven Johnston

April 24, 2017

Every year, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1349 honors a fireman as Firefighter of the Year. This year's awardee is Captain Steven Johnston of Prattville Fire Department. His award is for his service and accomplishments during 2016.

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Commander Harris reading the VFW 1349 Firefighter of the Year plaque.

On October 12, 2016, while driving down I-85, a vehicle cut across in front of Captain Steven Johnston. The car ran off the edge of the road onto the right hand shoulder and then back onto the road. Johnston observed the vehicle do this several times before running completely off the roadway and onto the grass. The vehicle then accelerated to a high rate of speed on the grass down the side of the interstate. The vehicle hit a construction sign and then crossed over four lanes of traffic to the median and spun around. At this point, the vehicle had a flat tire and was spinning. Captain Johnston stopped to see if he could help the driver. He traveled across the interstate on foot. Before he could get there, the vehicle caught fire with the driver still inside. Steven opened the passenger door and got into the vehicle to help the driver, who was very confused. He unbuckled the driver, opened the driver's door in order to exit where there was less fire. Johnston assisted the driver to a safe distance from the vehicle. The driver then stated that her son was in the car. Steven returned to the vehicle and found two empty car seats. There wasn't anyone in the rear compartment. While speaking with the driver, he discovered she had a history of seizures. Care arrived to treat her and MFD arrived to fight the fire. The driver was transported to the Emergency Room and the Police Department made contact with the school to confirm that her son was, in fact, in school at that time.

Steven suffered a burn from opening the car door the second time. Thankfully, it was not serious and treated with a little burn cream.

He was nominated for the Medal of Valor for his courageous act in risking his own life to save the life of another.

Captain Steven Johnston was awarded the Post 1349 Firefighter of the Year Award. His nomination went up to the national level and he was honored with the VFW National Firefighter Award awarded by the VFW of the United States. This is an absolute honor. It was well-deserved and we are so proud to call Steven one of our own!

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Presenting Steven's National award.

VFWAwardsPFDPPD04222017 SmarterServices 03082017 16Councilor Marcus Jackson, Fire Chief Terry Brown, Mayor Bill Gillespie, Captain Steven Johnston, VFW Commander Dave Harris, and Quartermaster Perry Mann.