Coast Guard Names Its Firefighter of the Year

Michael Filippone, U.S. Coast Guard Firefighter of the Year

A Fort Lauderdale, Fla., man has been selected as the Coast Guard's Firefighter of the Year.

Michael Filippone was chosen from a group of approximately 150 firefighters in the Coast Guard, according to Chief Warrant Officer Donnie Brzuska.

Filippone and four other firemen selected from the military branches will be awarded a plaque in August in Denver. Then the Department of Defense will select one among the four as the military firefighter of the year, according to Brzuska.

Filippone, 23, stationed at the training center in Cape May, N.J., credits his accomplishment to his crew members.

"I feel very honored," Filippone said. "I feel very pleased and it's indescribable because I feel I owe it to my crew."

Filippone left Fort Lauderdale in 2007 for boot camp to pursue an apprenticeship to become a firefighter in the Coast Guard. Before Cape May, he was stationed in Seattle.

"I like the service because it's the only service that saves people instead of going overseas and killing people," Filippone said.

Filippone is a great example of what a member of the Coast Guard should be, said co-worker Frank Marovich.

The two have known each other for two years, since Marovich started as a firefighter at Cape May.

"He definitely brings the crew together," Marovich said, "He knows when to be serious and he knows how to keep morale up and high."

Filippone's father, Ronald, remembers the days when they worked together at Father & Son's Sprinklers.

He said he isn't surprised that his son is being recognized as a hard worker and remembers his work ethic as a teenager.

"We know how hard he has been working," Ronald Filippone said. "It's good to know that someone recognizes the people that are working hard and trying to do the right thing."

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