William "Chet" Walker, who started volunteering in the Summit Hill Fire Department's first junior class 39 years ago, was named the Diligence Fire Company's 2010 Firefighter of the Year.
Walker had moved away from the borough 25 years ago, then returned to his hometown five years ago and became very active in the fire department
He was presented with the "Firefighter of the Year" award during the department's annual Christmas dinner held in the Community Center.
While away, he was employed by PPL Electric on the firm's fire brigade.
Making the presentation was Shawn Hoben, fire chief.
Walker, who is a trustee in the department, was praised by Hoben for his congeniality and easygoing personality.
"This gentleman never complains," said Hoben. "He comes in the firehouse and talks to all the guys."
Hoben added that although he left the department because of his employment, he kept his dues up. As soon as he returned to Summit Hill, he got back into firefighting.
Another highlight of the evening was the presentation of awards to active firefighters who have obtained over 300 points by being involved in fire department events.
Recipients of the awards were: Steven Becker, Brandon Miller, Tyler Heffelfinger, Jay Rehman, Pete Matyascik, Dave Sommers, John Poko, Leonard Ogozalek, Larry Black, Ronald Yuricheck, and Ed Nunnemacher.
Fire Company President Larry Black praised the work done by the firefighters. He said "people don't understand" what is involved in being a volunteer firefighter.
"A lot of sacrifices are given by ourselves as members," he said.
Black also gave credit to the ladies who have formed a fundraising committee.