American Fork firefighter recognized as Fireman of the Year
AMERICAN FORK — Calling himself "just an idiot who comes up with ideas," American Fork Fire Captain Leif Nelson recently received the Firefighter of the Year award from the Utah State Firefighters Association and graciously re-received it again July 10 at a city council meeting.
Nelson received the award for his many contributions to the community including putting on fire safety assemblies for all American Fork elementary schools, conducting a second-grade coloring contest and a fifth grade home fire safety check program. Nelson also organized a carbon dioxide and smoke detector donation program which resulted in more than 250 being given out to local residents who needed them.
A car seat and bicycle donation drive he spearheaded produced 50 car seats and 150 bicycles which were given to local community members. Nelson was also deeply involved in recent efforts which raised close to $90,000 for American Fork Jr. High student Kevin Baillargeon to get a van that could transport his wheelchair.
"All his efforts this year reached well over 2,000 community members," Chief Aaron Brems said. "Captain Nelson has got a big heart. His strength is his compassion for people."
Mayor Brad Frost also had high praise for Nelson.
"He is a credit to his profession," Frost said. "It is an honor to have someone of his caliber as part of our dedicated staff and to be recognized by his peers as Firefighter of the Year.
In addition to repressing him with the foreman's ax he received art the convention Frost presented Nelson with a plaque that evening. Nelson received a standing ovation from all those who were present.
Nelson said he actually had been tricked into attending the June Firefighters Association convention in Price by Chief Eddie Hales who had told him he would be presenting an award to another firefighter.
"This award was never on my radar. Even now I don't feel like I deserve it," he said, choking up.
Nelson has been with the American Fork Fire Department for 17 years. Prior to that, he worked for AC Excavation. He was a logistics technician at the Utah Fire & Rescue Academy for two and half years and is a certified EMT paramedic.
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