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York City Fire Dept. names firefighters of the year

Christopher Dornblaser
505-5436/@YDDornblaser
  • Arthur Harman and Matt Hoblitzell were awarded by the York City Fire Department on Wednesday.
  • Seven others were recognized for their actions over the past year.

Matt Hoblitzell and Arthur Harman, both York City firefighters, each have a family history of firefighting.

Harman's father volunteered with the York City Fire Department for 35 years, and Hoblitzell, who grew up in the Philadelphia area, had firefighters in the family.

On Wednesday, they made their families proud at York City Hall when the department named Hoblitzell 2015 Firefighter of the Year and Harman 2015 Volunteer Firefighter of the Year.

From left, 2015 Firefighter of the Year Matt Hoblitzell is applauded by his wife, Jackie, and friend Ryan Lischke during the 2016 York City Fire Department award ceremony at City Hall Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016. Amanda J. Cain photo

Volunteer: "I've always wanted to be a firefighter, since I was 5 years old," Harman said.

Harman, 22, of West Manchester Township, had been involved with the department since his childhood, when his father was a volunteer. He said he has been able to help fight fires from the inside since 2012.

 "I didn't think I'd be able to get it," Harman said.

Harman said he was following in his father's footsteps. His father, Arthur D. Harman, won the award in 1999.

"Me and his mother are very proud," his father said. "It's a great honor."

Career: The younger Harman knew he would be receiving the award in advance, according to fire Chief David Michaels. He said Harman was given the award at a volunteer banquet earlier this year.

Unlike Harman, Hoblitzell didn't know what to expect before the ceremony. He was told he was being recognized but was unaware he would be getting the big award.

York City Mayor Kim Bracey congratulates 2015 Volunteer Firefighter of the Year Arthur Harman during the 2016 York City Fire Department award ceremony at City Hall Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016. Amanda J. Cain photo

"It came as a big surprise," said Hoblitzell, 27.

The firefighter, a York City resident, has been with the department since 2010. He said he always wanted to be a firefighter, and when he was offered the job here in York, he jumped on it. Michaels said Hoblitzell had volunteer experience where he grew up.

"I love doing this," Hoblitzell said.

He said all of his co-workers were great and took him under their wing after he started.

"It's good to be recognized by my peers," he said.

Chief David P. Michaels reads a retirement recognition certificate for Capt. David Bowman during the 2016 York City Fire Department award ceremony at City Hall Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016. Amanda J. Cain photo

Awards: After the ceremony, Michaels commended the work ethic of the two award winners.

"It's good to see their enthusiasm," he said, adding that it was infectious for the rest of the department. He said it was good to see Harman grow up in the department and noted how committed Harman was.

"He has a full-time job, (but) he's still coming out," Michaels said, adding that it never bothers Harman to help. The chief said Harman works at a distribution center for a trucking company.

The chief also said Hoblitzell's passion for the job is evident at every fire scene he goes out to.

Deputy Chief Chad A. Deardorff, left, and Firefighter of the Year Matt Hoblitzell look over as Chief David P. Michaels (not pictured) reads a recognition certificate during the 2016 York City Fire Department award ceremony at City Hall Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016. Amanda J. Cain photo

"With Matt, you know what you're getting with him," he said.

Both firefighters received a gold bar, which they can place on their uniforms, to signify the award. Hoblitzell also received a plaque.

Others also were recognized at the ceremony. Firefighter Adam Smith was promoted to captain, Capt. David Bowman retired after 21 years of service, and five others were given letters of commendation for their actions in the city over the past year.

Public works employee Bill Ruby, firefighter Randy Rauhauser, firefighter Keith Ramsay, firefighter Brandon Hyder and firefighter Kevin Holtzapple were recognized during the ceremony.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.