A Lehighton firefighter was named the 2011 Firefighter of the Year by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 256, Lehighton.

The award was presented this week to Justin Klotz, 24, who was selected by his peers for the honor. Harry Wynn III. Wynn and Fred Schaffer, represented the VFW Post.

The award was inscribed with the following message: "In special recognition and highest praise for alertness, personal courage and ever vigilant guardianship of life and property."

Klotz has been a member of the Lehighton Fire Department for the past 10 years. He was only 14 and a high school sophomore when he joined the ranks of the firefighters.

Between the ages of 14 and 18, Klotz said that he assisted the firefighters and as soon as he was 18 he was a full member.

"He was the first cadet firefighter to receive the award," noted Larry Diehl. "He was one of our first cadets."

Klotz was humble in accepting the honor, and merely said, "thank you."

He added that he enjoyed his experience and that the other firefighters were a good group to work with.

Klotz said that he remembers the first fire call at the corner of Third and Alum streets when he was 14 years old.

Wynn said that the VFW enjoys recognizing the firefighters for their outstanding job in serving the community.

"It's a pleasure to see all you guys and girls and I want to thank you for all of your service to the community," said Wynn. "I know how many hours you give to the community. I am pleased to present the award for the 2011 Firefighter of the Year."