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Honoring Suffolk’s public servants

In an annual ritual celebrating the best of the best in Suffolk, the city honored two of its favorite public servants this week.

Lieutenant John Eric Thrush was honored as Paramedic of the Year, and Andrew Kitchen was named Firefighter of the Year from the Suffolk Department of Fire and Rescue. The honors were announced by the city on Monday. Supervisors and fellow workers were effusive in their praise for both men.

Kitchen was nominated by Capt. William Kessinger, who said Kitchen “goes above and beyond his duties every day, taking great pride in his job and his total commitment to the department.”

Thrush, who works at Station One on Market Street, was nominated for the honor by Battalion Chief Ted Adams. “He does so much for this department in the field of EMS,” Adams said. Thrush, he added, has been “instrumental in outfitting all of the new medic units and getting them street-ready.”

Both jobs require a level of commitment and selflessness that would be foreign to most folks who have never served in the military or on a police force. Both carry an element of danger. And both represent indispensible positions in a growing city like Suffolk.

The mission statement for the Suffolk Department of Fire and Rescue states, “The members of Suffolk Fire & Rescue are committed to providing a superior level of emergency service that continually improves the quality of life, health, and safety of the people we serve…the citizens of Suffolk.”

The two men chosen for this year’s are the face of that mission statement. They have proved themselves to be exemplars of service above self, of professionalism in their duties and of the ideals of their department. And they deserve all the praise they’re getting this week.