Monroe Township volunteer firefighter (Robert) Nick Wise II was surprised June 14 when he was named "Firefighter of the Year" during the 35th annual Johnstown Fireman's Festival.

Monroe Township volunteer firefighter (Robert) Nick Wise II was surprised June 14 when he was named "Firefighter of the Year" during the 35th annual Johnstown Fireman's Festival.

"It means a lot to me that my fellow firefighters would think of me," Wise told The Independent. "It's a great award, and it was unexpected. I was just doing what I like to do. I'm thankful and appreciate that I did receive it. It's a great honor."

Monroe Township Fire Chief Dudley Wright said Wise, 20, is very involved with the fire department, and has a lot of initiative and a positive attitude.

"He stands out because of his level of involvement and commitment to the organization," Wright said. "He' very focused on keeping his level of training up and his capabilities."

In the last year, from June 1, 2007, to June 1 of this year, Wise was involved in 463 emergency responses.

"That's very high for a volunteer," Wright added. "It's more than one a day."

Wise used to ride with his father (Robert) Nick Wise, a Columbus firefighter, on weekends.

"I love to hang out at the station with the guys. The only way to learn is from experience, and you don't get that unless you're at the station," he said. "A lot of people took me under their wing when I got on, including the full-time staff. They were always there to help me no matter what time of the day."

Wise thanked the members of the Johnstown Fire Department Association, Inc., Monroe Township volunteers and staff, and his family for helping him achieve the Firefighter of the Year honor.

Wise, a 2006 Johnstown-Monroe graduate, joined the Monroe Township Fire Department in 2006 as a probationary member.

His service within the department not only included being a trained and certified volunteer fireman but also a trained Emergency Medical Technician. In addition to making both fire and squad runs, he is enrolled at Columbus State University in paramedic training, and he has also attended numerous training classes and exercises locally and at the Ohio Fire Academy.

His training includes, but has not been limited to: Firefighter 1 and 2, Hazardous Materials Awareness and Structural Fire Attack. He has also received FEMA certificates in National Response Plan, National Incident Management System, Introduction to the Incident Command System, and ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents.

Recognized in other areas during the Fireman's Festival were parade winners in the Fire/EMS division: Longest Distance Traveled, Violet Township of Pickerington (20 miles); Judges Choice, St. Albans Township with its 1903 International Tanker; Best Appearance, Plain Township; Newest Motorized, Plain Township with its 2008 medic; and Oldest Motorized, Violet Township with its 1941 Seagraves.

Other parade winners included: Classic Auto, Wes Bourne's 1957 Plymouth; Antique Auto, Mayor Kevin Riffe; Bicycle, Russell Mitchell, first place, and Luke Mitchell, second place; Horse Related, the Ray Tag Gang; Commercial Float, Curves/His Word Book Store; Non-Commercial Float, First Southern Baptist; Ball Teams, Staneart's Sunoco, first, and Digital Impressions, second.

The annual Fireman's Festival kicked off with the Miss Johnstown Pageant on June 10, when 15-year-old Brianna Warner was awarded the crown. The festival continued through Saturday, June 14.

A portion of the proceeds from the Johnstown Fire Department Association, Inc.'s Fireman's Festival benefits the Monroe Township Fire Department to purchase equipment and other department needs.