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One of Fort Benning's own was recently recognized as the best in the Army at his profession and is now in the running for a top Department of Defense award.
Travis Jones, a firefighter with the Fort Benning Fire Department, was named Fort Benning Firefighter of the Year earlier this year, and has gone on to claim Firefighter of the Year awards at the regional Installation Management Command and IMCOM levels.
Most recently, he earned the title of Department of the Army Firefighter of the Year. Jones said he never expected to win awards for his work as a firefighter.
"I was notified one afternoon by the deputy fire chief that (District) Chief (William) Pagels had submitted me for Fort Benning Firefighter of the Year," Jones said.
"It was something I had no idea about until then. I didn't know I had been submitted or was even being considered. It was a shock to me."
Jones has only been at Fort Benning since December 2012, but Pagels said he has already made a huge impression within the department.
"He absolutely hit the ground running," Pagels said.
"He has accomplished a huge amount in his limited time here and has become a valuable asset certainly to me as a supervisor and to the Fort Benning community as a whole. ... We have some great firefighters here, but he definitely has stood out." Jones said he was able to be a major asset to the fire department by obtaining several licenses and through continued hard work.
"One of the biggest things was being able to achieve all the licensing for all of the vehicles that we operate here at the fire department within the first year," he said.
"After my first year was complete, I began filling in as lead firefighter. Mainly, I just tried to do what was expected of me every day. I just wanted to be dependable."
He said he continued to be surprised as he won awards, but is hoping that he has at least one more award left to win - the Department of Defense Firefighter of the Year.
"I've advanced this far, so if I could win one more, that would be great," Jones said. "After working here for a year and having 15 years left to work, I don't know that I could do any better."