Keller wins fire company's highest award at banquet he organized

February 14, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE |
  • Nick Keller recently was named Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co.'s firefighter of the year.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

FUNKSTOWN — As chairman for the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co.’s annual awards banquet, Nick Keller spent Feb. 5 at Next Dimensions restaurant setting up a video and photos featuring company members and emergencies the company responded to during the past year.

It wasn’t until the banquet was under way that Keller found out he was receiving the big award of the night — firefighter of the year.

“I was excited,” said Keller, 26, who has been a volunteer firefighter for three years and an emergency medical technician for two years.

“I think he’s very deserving,” said Dale Hill, fire company president.

Keller is serving his second term on the board of directors, responds to a lot of calls, helps with fundraisers, does a lot around the station and has taken a lot of training courses, Hill said.

The firefighter of the year is determined by a vote of the membership, Hill said.

Keller said he got into firefighting because his family was into it.

His grandfather, Ed Clopper, was honored at last year’s banquet for 50 years of service with the Funkstown fire company. His mother, Marsha Dieterich, has been active with Funkstown’s auxiliary for about 20 years. His stepdad, Kyd Dieterich, is the acting fire chief for the Hagerstown Fire Department.

Asked what he likes about being a firefighter, Keller said he likes helping the community.

Keller lives with his wife, Angie, northeast of Funkstown. The couple is expecting their first child this spring, he said.

Keller graduated from South Hagerstown High School in 2002. He works in customer service for Action Products, a Hagerstown company that makes medical products.

Keller helps with the fire company’s fundraisers, delivering chicken barbecue meals to local businesses and selling tip jars on bingo nights.

Keller said that even though he was chairing the awards banquet, he was stunned that he was recognized as firefighter of the year.

Keller wanted to thank Next Dimensions, which waived several fees so the fire company could meet its banquet budget.

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