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Faces of the Guard - Exchange Club Firefighter of the Year Tech. Sgt. Carl Merriman

Tech. Sgt. Carl Merriman holds his award for Exchange Club Firefighter of the Year. The prestigious annual award is given to the most deserving firefighter from the MTANG, Malmstrom Air Force Base and the city of Great Falls.
 (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jason Johnson)

Tech. Sgt. Carl Merriman holds his award for Exchange Club Firefighter of the Year. The prestigious annual award is given to the most deserving firefighter from the MTANG, Malmstrom Air Force Base and the city of Great Falls. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jason Johnson)

Great Falls, Mont. -- A firefighter assigned to the 120th Civil Engineer Squadron was presented with the Great Falls Exchange Club's 2011 Firefighter of the Year Award.

Tech. Sgt. Carl Merriman won the award based on his dedication and work ethic working as a full-time Engineer with the Montana Air National Guard Fire Department. The prestigious annual award is given to the most deserving firefighter from the MTANG, Malmstrom Air Force Base and the city of Great Falls.

Merriman was surprised and honored when he learned he won the award, but acknowledged being a firefighter isn't just an individual effort.

"Being a firefighter is about helping when others are in need," Merriman said. "It's a team effort up here. Without the guidance of our leadership, I couldn't have done it. I'm also very thankful for all the support I get from my family," he added.

He had previously won the Firefighter of the Quarter, and then was put in for the annual award by Chief Master Sgt. Robert Rutherford.

Rutherford noted that Merriman exemplified the qualities that make up a great team member of the department, such as honesty, integrity, and maintaining excellent physical fitness.
"He's always there to help the younger troops. When he's tasked, it's done right the first time and he trains and motivates with positive reinforcement," said Rutherford.

"These guys are there when something bad happens to someone else, like losing their home," Rutherford added.

Merriman has been a member of the MTANG for 10 years, joining the unit straight out of high school knowing he wanted to train to be a firefighter. His initial technical school training consisted of multiple disciplines including first responder training, medical, hazardous material and aircraft fire training. He's been a full-time employee with the department for the past seven years, and plans on making a career out of his current occupation.

Merriman has earned numerous national certifications as a Fire Officer 1, Fire Inspector 1, Fire Instructor, Haz-Mat 1C, and Emergency Medical Technician. On a daily basis, he fulfills roles ranging from combat firefighter to department trainer on multiple fire fighting and emergency apparatus.
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