MILTON, Ga. – Fire Apparatus Operator Richard Bushman was named the Milton Fire Rescue Department’s 2013 Firefighter of the Year at the agency’s awards banquet in January.
Additionally, the members of his Engine 42 B shift, including last year’s winner, Capt. Ryan James, Fire Apparatus Operator Tim Murray and Firefighter Russell Womack, were named Fire Company of the Year.
The 25-year fire service veteran and married father was chosen for the honor not on a single incident, but for his outstanding achievements, character and dedication, said Fire Chief Robert Edgar.
“I had no notion whatsoever I was being considered for the award,” said Bushman. “It was total shock. I sat there dumbfounded until my wife shook me and said, ‘You’ve got to go up there.’”
Bushman joined the city of Milton in 2011 after a long and varied career. He began fighting fires part-time in Ellerslie, outside of Columbus, in 1989, then served in Fulton County from 1996 to 2006.
He spent five years traveling across the Southeast teaching industrial emergency response in private industry before deciding to return to firefighting in Johns Creek. Once he found Milton, though, he knew he was home.
“This is a great place with very good leadership,” said Bushman. “I look forward to coming into work to be with the extension of my family – the brotherhood and sisterhood we have here.”
Edgar said it is that attitude, day-in and day-out, that earned Bushman the honor.
“This selection wasn’t based solely on a single incident, but on the many contributions and commendable behavior he demonstrated this year,” said Edgar. “Richard is just someone who is looked up to by his peers for his great character, integrity and motivation.”
For Bushman though, his win is still a mystery.
“I don’t know what I did that was any better than anybody else in this department,” he said. “When you love what you’re doing, you just enjoy being here.
“I’m living the dream,” he said.