ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala.-A depot employee was named by the Installation Management Command-Southeast Region as one of the Army's top civilian firefighters of the year for 2007.

Michael Payne, a paramedic firefighter within the Directorate of Emergency Services, was notified in March that he was the recipient of the prestigious award.

"It's a great honor," said Payne. "To know that my supervisors think that the work I perform is worthy of such a nomination makes me very proud."

This annual award recognizes individual superior job performance and outstanding contributions to the fire service, with specific focus on duty related fire and emergency services.

The nomination criteria included accomplishments, job performance, technical competence, leadership ability, initiative, and resourcefulness.

Payne, who has five years of federal service, evaluates and submits EMS reports to the State of Alabama Department of Public Health. He also possesses the unique ability to quickly and efficiently train and direct others in mass casualty responses.

According to the nomination package, Payne reviews incident reports in a timely manner for submission to the Naval Safety Center, after a quality check. He is also responsible for the department's computer database for the maintenance of installation pre-fire plan. Additionally, he coordinates with the depot's Dear Clinic and vendors to acquire and maintain medical equipment and supplies.

"Michael is an exceptional employee who stays current on emergency management services procedures," said Marty Carter, assistant fire chief and Payne's supervisor. "He is both a cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator instructor and maintains a strong professional drive for excellence. Not afraid to accept a challenge, Michael promotes teamwork and provides encouragement to other department personnel."

The same sentiments were expressed by the department's fire chief, Donald Heard. "Michael's work ethics and technical competence are extraordinary," he said. "It's no surprise that he was chosen."

Payne, a Jacksonville native, was quick to spread the wealth.

"I am most appreciative, but I have to credit my co-workers and leadership with this honor as well," Payne added. "After all, that's what makes us a team."