Firefighter of the Year honored

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., May. 6, 2011
Exchange Club President Sara Ross presents the Firefighter of the Year award plaque to Lt. David Thurz at the banquet on May 5. Photos by Steve Smith.
Exchange Club President Sara Ross presents the Firefighter of the Year award plaque to Lt. David Thurz at the banquet on May 5. Photos by Steve Smith.

At a banquet hosted by the Exchange Club of Glastonbury on May 5, Lt. David Thurz was presented with the 2011 Glastonbury Firefighter of the Year honors, in front of family, friends, and members of the department.

Thurz is a 13-year member of the department who began as a charter member of the Fire Cadet program in 1995. He was also the first cadet to join the department as a firefighter, in 1998.

In addition to being a member of the Glastonbury Fire Department, Thurz is the training officer for the Hebron Fire Department, where he works as a career firefighter/EMT. 

Thurz is also the cousin of Glastonbury Fire Chief Michael Thurz.

Exchange Club President Sara Ross said that since the award plaques (one displayed at the engine company of the firefighter, and the other at Town Hall) only hold 11 names each, the 12th Firefighter of the Year required new plaques, with Thurz's name as the first.

“So really, you're number one,” Ross told the lieutenant.

“Actually, I'm number one,” Chief Thurz said.

Upon accepting his award, Lt. Thurz said he was grateful to be recognized, and thanked the Exchange Club and the Glastonbury Firefighters Association, his family and his fellow firefighters and officers.

“Your support, help and hard work not only helped me, and helped the fire department as a whole, but is a testament to the dedication that each of you possess in times of peril,” he said. “To my friends here tonight, you have all had impact on my life and dedication to the fire service.”

Lt. Thurz said being selected as Firefighter of the Year is an honor he would cherish for the rest of his life. “I strive to be professional and passionate about the Glastonbury Fire Department,” he said, “and to make sure that the safety of fellow firefighters, and the public at large, is a top priority. My dedication to the training facility comes from the drive that I have to teach, and pass down knowledge to other firefighters. The skills that each of us have learned will ultimately save a life.”

Lt. Thurz was given proclamations from the Firefighters Association, the town of Glastonbury, and the State General Assembly, as well as a citation from Gov. Dannel Malloy's office.

State Rep. Prasad Srinivasan (R) told firefighters that they are part of the reason that Glastonbury is a “sought after” town to live in.

“You are, what I consider, the unsung heroes of Glastonbury,” Srinivasan said. “The quality of our lives is improved significantly, because of all that you do, day-in and day-out.”

Srinivasan called Lt. Thurz “an inspiration” to his colleagues, “as well as those who answer the call to public service.”

State Sen. Steve Cassano (D) said Glastonbury was an integral part of the state's Emergency Response Council, and that Lt. Thurz's dedication is part of the same dedication to public safety that isn't always as well-recognized as it should be.

“As citizens, we just kind of take it for granted,” Cassano said. “We just expect that the job is going to be done and someone is going to do it. It's people like David that do it.”

Lt. Thurz holds a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial health and safety from Central Connecticut State University.  In addition, Lt. Thurz is certified by the Connecticut Fire Academy as a Fire Service Instructor I, Fire Officer I, as well as a Pump and Aerial Operator.

According to a press release from the Glastonbury Fire Department, Lt. Thurz’s nomination was primarily based on the countless hours he dedicates towards the maintenance of the building at the Department’s Fire Training facility. He is actively involved in preparing the building for all live fire training exercises, which is an annual OSHA requirement.  Part of his duties includes inspecting and replacing the special burn tiles that are in the building to allow for live fire training.  Lt. Thurz is continuing to look for ways to improve the facility and recently was instrumental in securing concrete vaults that will be utilized in the future for confined space training.

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