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145th Civil Engineer Fire Fighter named Air Guard's best

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran
  • 145th Public Affairs
During a banquet held July 22, 2015, at McGee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Alcoa, Tenn., Staff Sgt. Jeret E. Kinnaird humbly accepted the "Chief Albert Fitzpatrick Award" after being recognized by the Air National Guard's Fire Chief Association as Military Fire Fighter of the Year for 2014. 

Kinnaird is the lead instructor for the Air National Guard's Urban Search and Rescue Technician Course taught at the North Carolina Air National Guard, 145th Regional Training Site in New London, N.C.

Recognized as the best in the country, Kinnaird stays extremely busy teaching classes, many times back to back with no days off. To date, Kinnaird has successfully taught over 900 Air National Guard and Active Duty firefighters in the Rescue I and II Course. In 2014 alone, Kinnaird instructed 12 Rescue Tech I & II courses resulting in over 360 certifications being achieved by units representing 42 states. 

145th Regional Training Site in Stanly County is the only location in the United States that provides the Urban Search and Rescue I and II Course. There are two other instructors besides Kinnaird who teach up to 30 members per class with each class running 12 days straight.

The dedication that is seen every day by those who work with Kinnaird is evident by the high regard his supervisors and peers have of him. 

"His willingness to succeed in the class room by continually looking for ways to improve and hone in on teaching and mentoring skills, is just one reason why his student critiques are so high." said Chief Master Sgt. Daryl Cook, Chief of Fire Emergency Services for the NCANG. "He has a genuine gift for instructing and connecting with each and every student, which makes him highly effective at making material stick months and years after the student leaves.

"He is a remarkable firefighter trainer," added Master Sgt. Donald D. Willis, Jr., Assistant Chief of Operations for the NCANG and Kinnaird's supervisor. "He never asks any of his guys to do what he wouldn't do himself. He consistently leads from the front, approaches all issues and challenges with a level-head and always takes care of his troops."

In addition to being a member of the North Carolina Air National Guard Fire Department and having a dual-role with the unit as a rescue instructor, Kinnaird also serves the NCANG base and community as a North Carolina State MCA Firefighter.

"His ability to "change gears" is truly admirable." said Cook, "He has an unmatched ability to situationally lead or follow; watching him is fun but at the same time, a learning experience for many who pay attention."

"I feel honored to have received this award," said Kinnaird, "but I feel it was earned by the entire team. We all work extremely hard. As a team, we are dedicated and focused to the mission and to our people. It's more than a job to us and we do it the best way we can."