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Local Firefighters honored by Georgia State Firefighters Association
A-Firefighters Awarded pic
Two local firefighters were honored recently by the Georgia State Firefighters Association.

The Georgia State Firefighters Association recently presented two local firefighters with the 2016 Life Saving Valor Award.

Eli Kesting and Tim Pastore accepted the award during the GSFA's annual awards ceremony Aug. 13 in Augusta.

The award honors fire service personnel who have acted in a life-saving event.

On Oct. 2, 2015, Kesting and Pastore were responding to an emergency call when their truck was hit head-on by a passenger car.

The men were injured in the collision but immediately began working to free and administer care to the driver of the other vehicle.

Kesting and Pastore received the Life Saving Valor Award last December from the Dawson County Emergency Services, and are now being recognized statewide.

Lanier Swafford, chief of Dawson County Emergency Services, said that the department is deeply honored and proud that the pair received the GSFA award.

"At the end of the day they were recognized for a tragic accident, and it was the circumstances that made their actions extraordinary," Swafford said. "But [Kesting and Pastore] showed the same heart that they have on the job every day. We can't say enough good things about those guys."

Georgia firefighters are nominated by their colleagues, GSFA President Joey Hartley explained. GFSA members submit applications and the organization's 7-member board decides who gets the awards based on the reports and the narratives.

Kesting and Pastore will also be recognized at the state capital in February for their valiant work.
"By law, the first Tuesday in February each year is Firefighter Appreciation Day, and the award recipients are recognized at the capital," Hartley said. "In February they will get a proclamation from the governor to go along with the awards."

Hartley said he is proud of all the work he sees firefighters doing in Georgia, and loves honoring GSFA members for their service.

"As the association's president, I can say we're very proud to be able to present them with these awards for their acts of valor while doing their everyday jobs," Hartley said. "Pastore and Kesting and the other award recipients are highlighting our firefighting profession with their services."