Havelock firefighter wins national award

winter award

Havelock firefighter Charles Winter, left, receives the VFW National FirefighterAward from Thomas Toler, fourth district commander of the VFW, on Friday.

Submitted photo
Published: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 03:49 PM.

A Havelock Fire and Rescue Department member has received state and national awards from the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Firefighter/paramedic Charles M. Winter received the VFW State Gold Medal and the VFW National Firefighter Award on Friday during an informal ceremony at the West End Fire Station. Thomas Toler, VFW fourth district commander, presented the awards to Winter for his role in rescuing a 2-year-old boy from a house fire.

“Winter is truly a role model to all firefighters and this honor reflects the proudest ideals of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States,” the national citation reads.

“It makes me feel good and I feel good for the fire department, too.” Winter said of the honors. “It’s an accomplishment. It brings something to the fire department that everybody can kind of stand back and enjoy.”

Winter, 34, has been with the department for more than a decade. He was the recipient of the N.C. Gold Lifesaving Medal in June of 2013.

The awards stem from an April 23, 2013, fire in which Winter rescued then 2-year-old Dylan Burkett from a Pineview Street home that was fully engulfed. With the aid of police and bystanders, Winter went headfirst into a side window of the burning building and, after a brief search through the smoky interior, found the child sitting on a bed. Burkett was handed to fellow firefighter Megan Lashway and made a full recovery after a short stay in the hospital. The fire destroyed the home.

“This all kind of stems from that call. It’s not just Charlie but the whole department,” said Assistant Chief Steve Coffey. “Obviously Charlie was the one that pulled him out, but there were a lot of other people doing things at the same time, but we’re absolutely proud of him and everybody. It just kind of shows the dedication and commitment that our folks have for eastern Craven County.”

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