CUMBERLAND, Wis-- They are some of the first people on scene at an emergency, their job to put their lives on the line for us. But each year, one Wisconsin firefighter is honored for going above and beyond their duty.
This year the Wisconsin Firefighter of the Year award was given to Lt. Rick Sebens with the Cumberland Fire District.
For decades, these bright orange fire trucks have brought a sense of community pride to the city of Cumberland.
“You know every time you get in a truck and go someone’s got your back," said Sebens.
A feeling no firefighter may know better than Sebens.
“I’ve been around the firehouse my whole life, my dad was a firefighter,” said Sebens.
Sebens has been with Cumberland Fire District for 13 years. Over the years he’s trained as a firefighter, along with search and rescue and cold water rescue.
“He's helped us with so much,” says Greg Weaver with Cumberland Fire Department.
Cumberland, like many small fire districts in Northwestern Wisconsin, is a paid on-call department. So that means when the pagers go off, the department's 30 firefighters have to drop what they're doing to help.
"If something needs to be done Rick is raising his hand to do it," said Weaver.
It's that dedication that led to his squad to nominate him for Wisconsin's Firefighter of the year.
And winning the award is something Seben’s says he doesn’t take lightly.
“I never expected it. To me it’s a real privilege to be a firefighter knowing that every time the pages goes off you will be able to help a family or help a certain individual,” said Sebens.