As a firefighter, Sean Mccarthy will bravely face the billowing flames on any call and do whatever he can to save people and protect property. He’s a team player and a great support to his co-firefighters.
Off duty, he can always be counted upon to volunteer for charity or community work that the St. John’s Regional Fire Department is involved in. He will always join co-workers in events that will represent the fire department, such as firefighter combat challenges and the Royal St. John’s Regatta.
Put a microphone before him, however, and he’ll try to shy away.
Mccarthy is a man whose actions speak much louder than his words.
That is why he was announced as this year’s Rotary Firefighter of the Year during a luncheon Thursday in St. John’s.
Sherry Colford, chief of the St. John's Regional Fire Department, read out part of a long list of the volunteer work Mccarthy is involved in. She said he is a member others strive to emulate.
“Sean is a very quiet under-the-radar individual. He is well-respected in our department by all the firefighters and by all of us,” Colford said. “He loves to serve his community, and he is one of the first who steps up. People look to him as an example of what they want to be able to do for our department.
“Our firefighters come to work every day and do their job. But they also step outside that job and say they want to do more for the community, and Sean is one of those prime examples.”
The Rotary Club of St. John’s created the award in 2015 to recognize exemplary community service in the performance of firefighters’ duties. The club says the community work of firefighters goes beyond the protection they provide to residents, homes and businesses throughout the region.
The award includes having the firefighter’s name engraved on a trophy and a personal plaque.
Mccarthy, who is in his 13th year as a firefighter, said it is great to be acknowledged and appreciated by co-workers, the department and the Rotary Club of St. John’s.
“To me a firefighter should be someone who gives back to their community as much as they can,” Mccarthy said. “The majority of my volunteer work goes through the St. John’s Regional Fire Department, so whatever they are involved with, I try to get involved with as well.
“I think we all do our best. It just so happens this year I was able to show up to a lot more things than years past.”
Mccarthy was nominated by fellow firefighter Joe Quigley, who praised his friend’s character.
“Sean has the qualities I think every firefighter should have,” Quigley said. “Whenever he’s called upon, he shows up. He is always the guy in the background that you don’t necessarily see, but he’s always there.”
Colford said the department appreciates the effort made by the Rotary Club of St. John’s each year to recognize firefighters.
“I think it’s extremely important firefighters are recognized by people outside of our department,” she said. “We try to recognize them for certain things they do, but the fact the public steps up and says, ‘We want to recognize you for the work that you do,’ I think means even more to them. It is someone external who says that they appreciate that you are in our community and we want to recognize you for that.”