Bob McMasters (left) of the Selma American Legion Post 20 recognizes Capt. Chris Craham (center) as firefighter of the year at Thursday’s meeting. Selma Fire Department Chief Mike Stokes (right) said Graham deserved the recognition because he goes above and beyond his call of duty to protect the Selma community. --Sarah Cook
Bob McMasters (left) of the Selma American Legion Post 20 recognizes Capt. Chris Craham (center) as firefighter of the year at Thursday’s meeting. Selma Fire Department Chief Mike Stokes (right) said Graham deserved the recognition because he goes above and beyond his call of duty to protect the Selma community. -- Sarah Cook

Firefighter of the year named by the American Legion

Published 8:21pm Friday, August 9, 2013

Captain Chris Graham of the Selma Fire Department was recognized Thursday night by the Selma American Legion Post 20 for not only his dedication to the department, but also his bravery.

Chief Mike Stokes, addressing the legion, said he nominated Graham to be firefighter of the year because of the bravery he exhibited in August 2010 when he saved three children from a burning home.

“A firefighter is not what he did this year, what he did today or yesterday — it’s what they did they’re whole career that warrants this recognition,” Stokes said. “He is definitely worthy of this honor.”

Beginning work at the fire department when he was 20-years-old, Graham moved up through the ranks. Going above and beyond his call of duty, Stokes said Graham has worked hard during his time with the department to implement new programs to help better Selma.

After receiving his award, Graham said there were no words to describe his gratitude.

“This is a job I do, and I don’t expect any recognition for it,” Graham humbly said. “Serving the community is something I take great pride in.”

Born in Bessemer, Ala., Graham moved to Selma at a young age and has called it home ever since. As a member of the Selma Fire Department, Graham said one of his biggest goals is to educate the community about fire safety.

“At first it was job security, but then it turned into a passion,” Graham said of his position at the fire department. “I enjoy doing fire inspections and educating the public about fire safety. It’s important that people realize fire safety and they’re aware.”

Graham thanked his family and God for his success as a firefighter, and he said he looks forward to serving many more years at the fire department.

“I care about this community, and I want to keep it safe,” he said.

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