The Gaston Volunteer Fire Department Junior Firefighter Program has received national attention.
The National Volunteer Fire Council honored the program members on Saturday with the Junior Firefighter Program of the Year Award, sponsored by California Casualty. The Gaston VFD program is for teens ages 14-17, in which they learn firefighting, rescue, emergency medical and leadership skills. The members hold their own meetings, conduct training and elect their officers.
Some of the junior firefighters include Cameron Mahoney, Seth Mahaffey, Justin Jenkins and Destiny Sexton. Mahoney said the team stood out of the 18 teams because of training and the trainers. Mahaffey said that in addition to the education the young firefighters receive, it is the teamwork and support from the other firefighters that makes a difference. Jenkins and Sexton said it is the way the department acts as a family.
"No matter how much we fight, we have our differences, but at the end of the day we all love and support each other," Jenkins said.