by Maddy Matthews
Chief Bruce Mack of Wheatfield's Frontier Volunteer Fire Co. recently was awarded the Liberty Mutual Firemark Award, during a drill with his fellow firefighters.
This award is given to career and volunteer firefighters in local communities who exhibit not only bravery in their life-saving efforts, but who also demonstrate commitment to their community by going above and beyond what is expected or required of them.
Mack knew from a young age that he wanted to be a firefighter. He started as a youth firefighter when he was 14, and became a full firefighter at age 18 in 1988. Four years ago, he became chief.
Ed Tase, a member of the fire company, nominated Mack for the Firemark Award.
He describes the chief as someone who "would not think of asking any person, firefighter, or EMS person to do anything he would not do himself."
He also describes a man who is hands-on and is more than willing to take the time to help those around him by teaching them what they need to know, and working as a team to get the job done. "Chief Mack is a true volunteer." Tase says.
Tase recalls a time a number of years ago when members of Frontier Volunteer Fire Co. lost one of their own in the line of duty, and Mack stepped up to lead his community through the difficult time. Tase described Mack during this time by saying "He put his professional hat on."
When asked why he does what he does, Mack simply replied, "I'm just trying to help out. It's in my nature, I guess."
He also talks of his father and grandfather who were both firefighters, and how he is attempting to follow in their footsteps.
It is because of this modest character that he openly shares his shock when he found out about the award. He never considered doing anything he's done for recognition; he just did it because it was the right thing to do, he said.
Liberty Mutual Group sales representative Debbie Dworzanski said safety is very important to Liberty Mutual. The company started this award in 1986 to recognize and honor firefighters whose bravery and selflessness keep communities safe and protected. Recipients receive a personal award and official recognition at their local fire station or Liberty Mutual sales office. Liberty Mutual has recognized hundreds of firefighters across the nation who they feel fit the character of this award.