James Duncan was named the 2013 Firefighter of the year. | Austin Nelson
James Duncan was named the 2013 Firefighter of the year. | Austin Nelson

Archived Story

Duncan named firefighter of the year

Published 12:25pm Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Editor’s note: This is the fourth of six articles highlighting those that received awards at the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting.

There are around 49 firefighters in the Alexander City Fire Department – but there can be only one Firefighter of the Year.

James Duncan took home this distinct honor at the 2013 Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting.

“He is a very smart individual and has a wonderful work ethic,” said ACFD Chief Kem Jones. “This honor is well-deserved – we could not have chosen a better person.”

Jones said Duncan started working for the department in 2005. Since then, he has completed a number of training courses including firefighter 1 and 2, firefighter instructor, HAZMAT technician, confined space 1 and 2, rope 1, and apparatus operator for the aerial ladder truck and pumper. He also received his paramedic degree in 2010.

“He is very dedicated,” Jones said. “He responded to some 730 ambulance calls just last year. That is a lot for just one person.”

Duncan, who is an Alexander City native and Benjamin Russell High School alum, said he got interested in the career from his mother, who worked in nursing.

“There is always going to be a need for it,” Duncan said. “You make a good wage, and it is hard to find stuff nowadays where you can make a good living.”

Duncan said the best part of the job is being able to help those in need.

“You help people on a daily basis, whether it be something bad or something as simple as moving from a nursing home to the doctors office and back,” Duncan said.

The hardest part, Duncan said, was the sheer volume of calls the department responds to.

“You are steadily going all day long,” Duncan said.

Jones said that in addition to Duncan’s dedication and work ethic, he is a pleasure to work with.

“He has a great sense of humor – the officers and his coworkers all think a lot of him,” Jones said. “I have absolutely never had a complaint on him since he has been here. He’s always on time and always has a smile on his face.”