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Palm Harbor first-responder named statewide Firefighter of the Year

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Published:   |   Updated: April 3, 2013 at 02:43 PM
PALM HARBOR -

The Florida Professional Firefighters Association’s 2013 Firefighter of the Year came from the ranks of Palm Harbor Fire Rescue.

Firefighter-Paramedic Dustin Seabolt traveled to Tallahassee two weeks ago to receive the State of Florida Firefighter of the Year award from the Florida Professional Firefighter’s Association. He’d received similar recognition by his department and Pinellas County.

In honoring Seabolt the FPFA cited a pair of life-saving actions he took in 2012.

On June 24 Seabolt put his own safety at risk while responding to a call during Tropical Storm Debby. A 15-year-old boy was caught in rapidly moving stormwater and in danger of being swept under and into a drainage ditch.

After securing a safety line to a tree, Seabolt jumped into the water, made his way to the teen and held him until further help arrived.

Less than two months later, on Aug. 7, Seabolt found himself in another life-threatening situation. This incident was a townhouse fire and as a part of the fire attack team, Seabolt found an unconscious woman lying on the floor. He called for assistance and then removed the woman from the fire.

While Seabolt certainly appreciates and understands the praise he’s received of late, he said he’s simply doing the job he signed up for.

“We’re doing what we’re paid to do,” he said in an interview Monday. “For me [the award] wasn’t that big of a deal, but it is nice to get the recognition.”

Seabolt traveled to Tallahassee March 18-19 with a group that included his wife and children, members of Palm Harbor Fire Rescue and other relatives. Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater presented Seabolt with the Firefighter of the Year Award.

“These men and women are the true role models of our state,” Atwater said during the ceremony. “Notwithstanding the risk they take with each call to help someone in need, they rush to the aid of their neighbors, friends and communities.”

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