REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Cyrus Jones, deputy chief of the Redstone Fire Department, had no idea what he was walking into Thursday morning. Jones thought the 8:30 meeting was just a morale-call until he was summoned to the front of the room.

Jones was honored for his time as acting fire chief by the director of emergency services Mike Sheehy. Jones received a plaque and medal as Sheehy commended him for his hard work, saying he did a phenomenal job.

"For someone to be an expert is a great skill," Sheehy said. "But for someone to be an expert and a leader is more than you could ask for.

"He has convinced me of the value and I have a better appreciation for this division because of the work he has done. We really take what we hear from this division at face value and that is because of all the hard work that he's done."

Jones acted as fire chief from Jan. 1 through July 31. During that time the station responded to 966 calls, including those related to the April 27 tornadoes and the recovery work.

Jones was surprised by the ceremony and the recognition.

"I was totally surprised," Jones said. "When the chief sent out the email I thought it was just a morale-call then he called me up front."

While accepting his awards, Jones said that he would not be receiving them if not for the work the whole station has done and that instead he was accepting them on everyone's behalf.

"This means a whole lot to me and it makes me appreciate what these guys are doing," Jones said. "It's not me who is getting these, it's them out there every day responding to calls."