St. Amant — Nine firefighters and four junior firefighters were honored for their commitment to the fire service during a July 27 banquet hosted by area Knights of Columbus councils.

Guest speaker and Prairieville Fire Department Chief Mark Stewart praised the honorees and all firefighters in the parish for their dedication to “this noble profession.”

“Each night you can lay down and go to bed knowing you’ve done something good out there,” Stewart said.

He said the fire service is made up of “a lot of different people with a lot of different talents.”

Stewart, who serves on the Louisiana Urban Search and Rescue Team and has responded to disasters in New York, Alabama, Haiti and the space shuttle explosion, also thanked the families of firefighters for their understanding.

“Emergencies don’t discriminate, they call us out on holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, weekends and just about any time we’re needed,” he said.

Coy Moran, Grand Knight of KC Council 6389, said the banquet, in its 36th year, is a “small way we can say thank you for protecting our families.”

The banquet is hosted by St. Theresa council 2657, Father James Clement Council 6389, St. Mark Council 8147, St. John the Evangelist Council 8342 and Our Lady of Guadeloupe Council 12145.

More than 250 firefighters and their families attended the event. St. Amant Fire Chief James LeBlanc, who served as master of ceremonies, called the attendance one of the largest he’d seen in many years.

Earning the Junior Firefighter of the Year awards were Brooke Joubert, Galvez-Lake; Dillon Lejeune, Seventh District; Desmond Lane, Geismar; and Broc Poche, St. Amant.

Receiving the Firefighter of the Year awards were:

  •  Jeri Taylor, Sorrento Fire Department. Sorrento Fire Chief William Samuel, in a nomination letters, said Taylor joined the department in 2005, after already becoming a national registered emergency medical technical and serving as a state emergency medical services instructor. “She hit the ground running and not only by responding to calls, but taking on extra tasks such as conducting EMS training,” he said.
  •  Jessica Breaux, Gonzales Fire Department. In addition to other duties as a firefighter, Chief Tracey Norman said Breaux volunteers her time for several nonprofit community events. She is working on her firefighter I certification and has passed the Haz-Mat Awareness and Operations tests. “Jessica’s smile and laughter are infectious and routinely she is the pun of a joke or two from all of her brothers she now has at her GFD family,” Norman said in his letter.
  •  Scott Cohenour, St. Amant Volunteer Fire Department. Throughout his three-year career with the department, Cohenour has been in the top five in fire response, emergency medical services response, training, works details and fund-raising events, LeBlanc said.
  •  Paul Marchiafava, Fifth Ward. Chief Peter Roblin, in his nomination letter, described Marchiafava as “a dedicated individual in all aspects of his life.” He said Marchiafava “prioritizes business meetings, work details, fund raisers, training classes and emergency calls into his already busy schedule.”
  •  Matt Martin, Galvez-Lake. As a lieutenant in the department, Martin has earned his firefighter I and II certifications and completed his HazMat Awareness courses. He was named Rookie of the Year and Member of the Year, awards given by the department, the nomination letter stated. Martin is also a member of the parish’s Water Emergency Team.
  •  Owen Dempsey, Geismar. “This firefighter went from working at Leaders to becoming a leader,” Chief Nat Stephens said, saying Dempsey worked at Leader’s Fried Chicken restaurant while attending school. Dempsey, who works for Acadian Ambulance, is working on completing his paramedic certification.
  •  Quentin Cappo, Prairieville. Cappo joined the department in April 2008, having no previous experience in firefighting or emergency medical services, “but he took to the fire academy training like a duck to water, learning the necessary skills,” according to his nomination letter.
  •  Ricky Moran Jr., Donaldsonville. Moran started his career in the fire service as a junior volunteer with the Galvez-Lake department in 1998. He was appointed assistant chief in 2004 and joined the Seventh District department in 2006, where he serves as assistant chief. He was hired as a fulltime firefighter with the Donaldsonville Department in 2008. In 2010, he responded to 285 calls.
  •  Rusty Leblanc, Seventh District. Leblanc joined the department in 2009 and has attended “as many trainings as possible,” according to his nomination letters. Leblanc has earned the firefighter I certification.