Pictured (from left) are Chief Glenn Kurfees, Lt. Justin Yox, Cpt. Jason Smith, Retired Fire Chief Andy Weatherman, D.C. Kyle Bell, and Lt. William Wilson.

Special to Iredell Free News

The Statesville Fire Department recently hosted its annual awards banquet at the Statesville Civic Center, recognizing and honoring 24 individuals for their exceptional achievements throughout the past year.

On April 12, members of the department, accompanied by their families, city employees and council members, gathered to celebrate the dedication and hard work exhibited by their colleagues.

Statesville Mayor Costi Kutteh administered the oath of office to the newly hired and promoted individuals for 2023, emphasizing their pivotal role in upholding Statesville’s accreditation and ISO-1 rating.


Among the honorees were:

♦ New hires: Grayson Alexander, Bobby Morrison, Michael Billings, Joseph Cook, Joseph Haracopos, Jordan Montgomery, Preston Sweeney, and James Thompson; and

♦ Promotions: Cpt. Scott Mitchell, Asst. Fire Chief Danny Nicholson, Deputy Fire Chief Kyle Bell, and Fire Chief Glenn Kurfees.

♦ The event also paid tribute to former Fire Chief Andy Weatherman upon his retirement, acknowledging his dedicated service to the department and the community.

♦ Those honored for significant milestones in their firefighting careers include William Atkins and Jennifer Horvath for their Firefighter 1 designation, and Hunter Baynes, Jacob Belk, Coty Brown, Richard Gregory, Garrett Meachem, Steven Moore, Hunter Shook, and Hunter Swicegood for achieving the Master Firefighter designation.

In his address, Fire Chief Kurfees commended all personnel for their dedication and contributions to the department’s success, expressing gratitude to their families for their unwavering support.

Deputy Fire Chief Kyle Bell offered words of encouragement and guidance to the new firefighters, emphasizing the importance of ongoing learning, camaraderie, and teamwork in their firefighting careers.

Highlighting the department’s commitment to recognizing excellence, the Officer of the Year and Firefighter of the Year awards were reintroduced this year. Firefighter Ryan Franklin was awarded the Firefighter of the Year Award, while Battalion Chief Aaron Kennedy received the Officer of the Year Award, as voted by their peers.

Lt. William Wilson concluded the program by emphasizing the importance of a firefighter’s mental health and wellbeing. He addressed the concerning trend of firefighters experiencing mental health issues, such as post-traumatic stress, and urged individuals to seek help when needed while also being supportive of their fellow firefighters.

Pictured (from left) Mayor Costi Kutteh, Grayson Alexander, Michael Billings, Joe Cook, Bobby Morrison, and Joseph Haracopos (New hires).
Pictured (from left) are Mayor Costi Kutteh, Cpt. Scott Mitchell, Asst. Chief Danny Nicholson, Deputy Chief Kyle Bell, and Chief Glenn Kurfees (Promotions).
Pictured is Williams Atkins (FF 1).
Pictured (from left) are Hunter Baynes, Jacob Belk, Garrett Meachem, Coty Brown, and Richard Gregory (Master FF).
Pictured (from left) are Chief Glenn Kurfees, Lt. Justin Yox, Cpt. Jason Smith, FF Ryan Franklin (Firefighter of the Year), Lt. William Wilson, and D.C. Kyle Bell.
Pictured (from left) are Chief Glenn Kurfees, Lt. Justin Yox, Battalion Chief Aaron Kennedy (Officer of the Year), Cpt. Jason Smith, Lt. William Wilson, and D.C. Kyle Bell.