NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – Captain Blake Turner’s work training firefighters with New Hanover County Fire Rescue (NHCFR) has always been to the highest standards, but his efforts outside of that role caught the attention of his colleagues this year.
Turner, a 21-year veteran with NHCFR, was recently named the 2021 NHCFR Fire Officer of the Year for his role in helping the county organize and execute COVID-19 vaccines within the department and a home-bound vaccination program while still preforming his daily duties.
“Captain Turner is the true definition of the servant leader as he always asks what more he can do to help,” said New Hanover County Fire Chief Donnie Hall. “When the COVID-19 vaccine became available, he was eager to help make it available for all our eligible citizens. We are so grateful for his tireless efforts.”
Turner helped coordinate the NHCFR’s vaccination response team, spending countless hours working to get hundreds of fellow firefighters the vaccine. Then, when the department was tasked with creating an in-home vaccination program to help vulnerable individuals who could not leave their residence, Turner worked to ensure its success, organizing staff to distribute the vaccine.
“My job is to help the community and COVID has just opened a different outlet to do that,” Turner said. “Being recognized as the Fire Officer of the Year was not something I was seeking out, but I am so thankful to my coworkers for thinking of me in the nomination process and I look forward to serving the citizens of New Hanover County for many more years to come.”