Chet Chenault thought it was nice to hear somebody nominated him to be the Veterans of Foreign Wars firefighter of the year. But after months of radio silence, he figured somebody else had won the state award. "I'd been told a while back I had been nominated for it," Chenault said, "but that was January and I hadn't heard anything else about it." He heard about it again Friday, and the surprise was much bigger. The lieutenant took not only the New Mexico award, but went on to earn the national title as well. Chenault was honored at the fire station Friday, and will be honored again at Thursday's Clovis city commission meeting. He has been with the department for seven years, with Monday the anniversary of his join date. The nomination pool is open to any individual who serves in a county, state or federal unit tasked with firefighting. Candidates must be recognized by colleagues or those they serve, demonstrate consistent excellence in performance of duties and show dedication and growth in the profession.