By Conrad Dudderar
On the eve of his retirement from the Yukon Fire Department, a longtime City of Yukon employee was honored this week with a first responder award from a local television news station.
YFD Battalion Chief Kent Long, who joined the City of Yukon in 1986, was surprised Wednesday afternoon at Yukon Fire Station No. 1 when he was presented with KWTV-News 9’s “Caring for the Community” award.
News 9 anchors Kelly Ogle and Amanda Taylor were on hand to recognize Long, who has been at the YFD since August 1991.
Long will retire Jan. 27 after more than 33 years with the City of Yukon – the last 28-1/2 years at the fire department.
“The award was nice; it really was nice,” said Long, fighting back tears. “To know that you impacted someone that deeply is very moving.”
Each month, one Oklahoma first responder is selected as News 9’s “Caring for the Community” winner for the dedicated service they provide. As with other recipients, Long received a $1,000 prize from Accident Care and Treatment, Inc.
The YPD battalion chief was nominated for the award by Yukon firefighter Jake Neuenschwander, who serves with him on the “red” shift.
“I’ve always viewed all of us as a team,” Long said. “This really is a team award, because we all work together. I really do appreciate how the guys have taken care of me. I’ve tried taking care of them, and it’s really a reciprocal relationship.”
It means that much more for Long to receive the “Caring for the Community” honor as he prepares to leave the YFD.
“I can get all the crying done in one week,” he said with a chuckle. “I always wanted to be a firefighter since I was a little kid.”
‘HE EXEMPLIFIES LEADERSHIP’
Long was very deserving of the recognition, according to Yukon Deputy Fire Chief Kyle Trumbly.
“Kent has been at the forefront of so many great things that have happened here that we’re doing,” Trumbly said. “He exemplifies leadership and has been an outstanding mentor to many of us, including myself.
“The way that Kent values customer service and continues to portray that tradition that we have within the department is incredible. We have a great group of firefighters that exemplify customer service, selflessness to service this community on a daily basis. So this is something we all can share in. Kent has really been a pioneer in helping to establish that.”
On behalf of all YFD personnel, Trumbly wishes Long and “long, happy and healthy” retirement.
“Kent is a very selfless person and we are going to miss him very much,” he said.