05/13/11 — Former longtime fire chief chosen for national award

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Former longtime fire chief chosen for national award

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 13, 2011 1:46 PM

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longtime Faison fire chief and former Duplin County sheriff Glenn Jernigan becomes first North Carolinian to win national firefighters award.

FAISON -- Glenn Jernigan, former Duplin County sheriff and former longtime chief of the Faison Fire Department, has become the first North Carolinian to receive the National Volunteer Fire Council's Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award, presented annually by Scott Safety, is given in recognition of an individual whose remarkable service in the fire service and community exemplifies outstanding performance. To be considered, nominees must have been a volunteer firefighter for at least 20 years.

Jernigan, 72, has been a member of the Faison Fire Department since 1959 and was instrumental in forming the department's rescue unit.

He served as chief of the Faison Fire Department from 1970 to 1986 and continues to serve as safety officer.

"I still help them out in the daytime, and I can still run the pump," he said.

Jernigan, a Faison native, said it felt good for a country boy going up to the big city of Alexandria, Va., where the award was presented. He was nominated for the award by Jeff Cash, chief of the Cherryville Fire Department. Jernigan said he was told about two weeks before the presentation that he had been selected for the award.

"It makes you feel mighty humble," he said. "I was not expecting anything like that. When you stop and think about all of the volunteer firemen in the United States and they pick you. It makes an old country boy feel mighty honored."

"No man is more deserving of this award," said Joe Guyotte, chairman of the council's Membership and Awards Committee, as he and Jason Cannon of Scott Safety presented the award during last month's council board meeting.

Jernigan, in accepting the award, dedicated it to all of his fellow firefighters in Faison and the state. He also thanked his wife of 52 years, Evelyn.

The Jernigans have a son, Anthony Jernigan of Elizabeth City, a State Bureau of Investigations agent, and a daughter, Kim Jackson, the lead school nurse for Sampson County Public Schools. They have four grandchildren and one great-grandson.

Jernigan joined the Duplin County Sheriff's Office in 1963 and served as chief deputy for 25 years. He was later appointed sheriff, serving for three and a half years, after incumbent Sheriff George Garner became ill and could not complete his term. Jernigan retired in 2002.

Jernigan has received numerous honors during his career with the fire service, including North Carolina Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year, North Carolina Fireman of the Year and the Faison Fireman of the Year. He also received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2003, the state's highest civilian service award, which is presented by the governor.

He is past president of the Duplin County Firemen's Association, Eastern North Carolina Association of Firefighters and the North Carolina State Firemen's Association and North Carolina Association of Fire Chiefs, where he is a lifetime member of both.

Jernigan is known as a strong advocate for firefighter training and was instrumental in promoting and growing the North Carolina Fire College. He also supported the Office of State Fire marshal in the development and enhancement of specialized training for the state fire service.