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Kip Smith receives award for Firefighter of the Year

Pictured is Kip Smith (left) with Luverne Fire Chief Bill McManigle (right). Recently, Smith was awarded the Firefighter of the Year award for his service above and beyond the call of duty.

Pictured is Kip Smith (left) with Luverne Fire Chief Bill McManigle (right). Recently, Smith was awarded the Firefighter of the Year award for his service above and beyond the call of duty.

By: Shayla Terry

Every year the Luverne Volunteer Fire Department votes on their Firefighter of the Year, and 2016 was Kippery (Kip) Smith’s year.

“I was very humbled by receiving it,” Smith said.

“I never expected anything like this. I’m honored that they thought enough of me to chose me.”

Smith has been with the fire department since January of 1990. He currently serves as the secretary and treasurer.

“You join for the community service,” Smith said.

“You hate to hear of someone being in trouble, and you do it for the service to help out people.”

Smith also serves on the city council, is a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service and is a volunteer coach for recreational sports.

“He’s a consistent member,” said Assistant Fire Chief William Neal.

“Even with all the things he does. He’s been with us all this time, and he keeps control of all of our accounts.”

With juggling so many tasks, Smith says it comes with some sacrifices.

“Sometimes you have to give up some things,” he said.

“You sit down to the table, and you have to leave, which means you get cold supper. But that’s fine too.”

Since he is also a letter carrier for the city, Smith is used to verifying routes on runs.

“He knows every address on every street,” Neal said.

“He keeps a walkie talkie with him so he can call us while we’re on runs to tell us exactly where to go.”

Smith says he plans on being a part of the department for as long as he can.

“We’re a band of brothers,” he said.

“When that pager goes off, we all join together and get through the thick and thin together. We fight together until the mission is accomplished.”

The Luverne Fire Department will continue its growth with plans to build a new fire station in the near future.