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A volunteer fireman from Pike County, Georgia who is credited with saving four lives in two years received The American Legion's Firefighter of the Year Award today.In a nomination letter to The American Legion from Pike County Emergency Services (PCES) officers, Captain Brian Michel is characterized as "the embodiment of a volunteer firefighter" providing service that is "professional, unselfish, dedicated and knowledgeable."The letter also notes that a citation Michel received last year as PCES Firefighter of the Year "fails to fully explain how much of an asset (he) is to the department and to the community. Captain Michel has been volunteering with the department for almost seven years without want of compensation or an agenda. He responds regardless of time, weather or season."Besides carrying out his volunteer firefighter duties with distinction - which includes acting as an instructor and public educator and serving as a lead diver in the PCES dive team - Captain Michel is credited with saving the lives of four citizens since 2009. In that year, Michel received the Cardiac Life Saving Award for his help in successfully treating a heart attack victim. He did the same thing the following year. Also in 2009, Captain Michel helped rescue a child who was trapped beneath a large pile of heavy debris consisting of dirt, rocks and tree stumps. The boy was dug out of what could have been his grave with bare hands and hand tools. In 2010, Michel helped save the life of a patient bleeding from a dialysis shunt by applying blood staunching first aid methods. He was recognized with his department's Rescue Life Saving and Medical Life Saving awards for those actions.Captain Michel was named First Responder of the Year by his department in 2009 and has also been lauded for his heroism. "As a station officer," his nomination letter states, "Captain Michel is often part of an interior team charged with finding and attacking the seat of a fire. (He) uses all of his training, ability and experience as he gives consistent guidance, calmly leading personnel in dangerous, quickly evolving environments. By doing so, he is a great example of leadership to his station personnel and those of other stations."Besides serving as a highly regarded volunteer firefighter, Captain Michel's is also employed as a full time firefighter in Griffin, Georgia.Captain Michel received The American Legion Firefighter of the Year award from National Commander Jimmie L. Foster at the veterans service organization's 93rd annual convention in Minneapolis, Minn.With a current membership of 2.4-million wartime veterans, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism,and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 14,000 posts across the nation.-30-Media contacts: Joe March (Cellular) 317-748-1926; Marty Callaghan (Cellular) 202-215-8644 or Craig Roberts (Cellular) 202-406-0887.

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