WATERLOO – The man who is tasked with keeping Waterloo’s firefighters up to date with their training has been named the department’s Firefighter of the Year for 2019.

Lt. Dave Jensson received the honor during the Noon Exchange Club luncheon Monday at the Elks Club.

“The training officer position is possibly one of the most challenging ones within the department. We task Dave with meeting the training needs of 100 plus firefighters, and he’s pretty much a one-man show,” said Fire Chief Pat Treloar.

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Medical Supervisor Jason Hernandez, who nominated Jensson for the award, said firefighters are expected to do more than extinguish fires. In a typical day, they can be called to handle vehicle accidents, rescues and hazardous material releases, and firefighters are cross trained to be prepared.

“The training office has the difficult task of sewing together all of the different aspects the fire department has to make us into one well-oiled machine,” Hernandez said. “Dave does a good job of keeping us up to speed and well trained in all of those aspects.”

A La Porte City native, Jensson became interested in the fire service through his father, who served as a volunteer on the town department for three decades.

“I really thought it would be a good fit for me,” Jensson said.

Jensson studied at the University of Northern Iowa and Hawkeye Community College, and he was a volunteer on the Holland Fire Department while working as a corrections officer for Benton and Hardin counties.

He joined Waterloo Fire Rescue in 2006 and worked as a tailboard firefighter and then was a paramedic for 10 years before he was promoted to lieutenant about two years ago and assigned to the training officer slot.

Hernandez said Jensson’s accomplishments have included using video conferencing to make training available to firefighters who aren’t able to attend classes, documenting training and renovating parts of the department’s training center on Newell Street.

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