CEDAR FALLS — For 12 years Jason Campbell has had two families, one at home and one at the fire department.
Both families celebrated when Campbell was awarded the title of Firefighter of the Year on May 7 in the Cedar Falls City Council chambers.
“We have a first family, which is your immediate family at home, and we have second family, which is here,” Campbell said. “If you ever need anything you can give one of these guys a call.”
The award belongs to his fellow firefighters more than it does to him, Campbell said.
“It’s more of a reflection on the fire department as a whole,” he said. “We work together as a team and, so it’s more of a team effort than an individual effort.”
The firefighters Campbell works with get together outside of work and help each other during off-duty hours.
“If it wasn’t for the brotherhood and for the team approach I don’t think I’d be getting that award,” Campbell said. “We trust each other, just like you trust your family. We just have each other’s backs.”
Shortly after getting hired on at the Cedar Falls Fire Department, Campbell started a family with his wife, Melissa.
The Campbells have three children between 2 and 9 years old. The kids love visiting their dad at the fire station and seeing the trucks, Campbell said.
Campbell has enjoyed camaraderie in every career he’s had, as a firefighter and as an airman.
In 2001, Campbell enlisted in the Air Force to be a firefighter. During his time in boot camp, 9/11 happened.
He deployed to Oman with Operation Enduring Freedom from 2002 to 2003.
In 2005, Campbell was honorably discharged from the Air Force and a year later he started his career in Cedar Falls as a firefighter.
Campbell grew up in Stout, a small town about 25 miles west of Waterloo. His family would visit Waterloo when he was kid for weekend activities and shopping.
During one of those visits as a child, Campbell saw the aftermath of a fire in Waterloo and knew he wanted to be a firefighter.
Campbell appreciates the support he gets from the Cedar Falls community.
“That’s really rewarding just to know that we’re helping,” Campbell said.
Other firefighters who received awards are:
- Fire Officer of the Year: Battalion Chief Roger Stensland.
- Alternative Staff Firefighter of the Year: Jason Dolf.
- Award of Excellence: Capt. Bobby Wright, Capt. Derek Brown, Rob Inouye.