ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Anniston Army Depot Directorate of Emergency Services' Fire and Emergency Services Division was recently named the Small Fire Department of the Year for Army Materiel Command and one of its own, Nathan Harper, was named AMC's Firefighter of the Year.

Harper, has been employed as a firefighter for the federal government for 12 years, first at Fort McClellan then Fort Benning before accepting his current role at ANAD in 2002. However, he has been working with fire departments far longer than that.

"My dad was a volunteer firefighter in White Plains, so, I followed in his footsteps as a volunteer for a few years before I was hired at Fort McClellan," said Harper, adding that he began going on calls with his father at age 12. At the time, he was too young to fight the fires, but he supported his father and the other firefighters in any way he could.

For Harper, this award is a great honor, one that comes along once in a lifetime.

"Nathan was nominated because of his accomplishments and his professionalism," said Donald Heard, the division's chief. "He received an ambulance call where his judgment and training potentially saved the life of an employee and his actions reduced the employee's recovery time."

Harper credits his coworkers with helping him earn this AMC honor, particularly those who work with him on Engine 2 and Medic 2.

"We are a team here," said Harper.

As a team, the Fire and Emergency Services Division has been honored with an award as well.

This is the second time the division has earned Small Fire Department of the Year and Heard said the award shows the accomplishments of the professional firefighters here, including support of the depot's maintenance mission, the installation's tenants, and the assistance provided to Anniston Chemical Activity and the Anniston Chemical Disposal Facility as they completed the chemical munitions mission.

"This award was earned by the hard work and dedication of every firefighter," said Heard.