Firefighter of the Year
Firefighter Justin Welvaert is the Knights of Columbus 2017 Firefighter of the Year. Firefighter Welvaert was nominated by his peers for his outstanding accomplishments. The following is the nomination letter submitted to Fire Chief Yerkey and the Knights of Columbus:
Having learned of the call for nominations for this year's Firefighter of the Year, we are writing today to endorse a highly suitable individual, Justin Welvaert. In many ways exceeding the challenging requirements and expectations for the award, Firefighter Welvaert's ambitions, leadership, and accomplishments complement precisely the stellar community of past recipients and make him highly deserving of the honor and opportunity bestowed by the Knights of Columbus. To further support this nomination, we would be pleased to express in more detail our personal insights into Firefighter Welvaert’s unique talents and qualifications.
Firefighter Welvaert is a 10 year veteran of the Rock Island Fire Department. In his tenure, he has contributed to many projects. Firefighter Welvaert has given a lot of his time to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He volunteered his time during the MDA’s many “summer camps” where children are free to enjoy adventures like horseback riding, swimming and fishing, develop lifelong friendships, and build self-confidence and independence.
Firefighter Welvaert has also organized and led the IAFF boot drive where every year, firefighters collect money every Labor Day for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
He also played a vital role in help a disable veteran receive a new vehicle. It was because of him and others, this disabled veteran has a better quality of life and is able to drive to appointments and complete his everyday needs.
Firefighter Welvaert also volunteers and as an executive member of the International Association of Firefighters for many years, is a Safe Kids car seat technician but most important, Firefighter Welvaert has become a leader. Now as a senior paramedic on the fire department, his roles have changed. He is now a mentor and a preceptor for the new members of the fire department. Firefighter Welvaert is a strong paramedic and because of this, he trains the probationary firefighters the same.
Finally, over the years, he has shown us that he can lead, he can organize and he gives his time to his community. Because of this, we, Rock Island Fire Departments 3rd battalion, nominate Justin Welvaert as Firefighter of the Year.