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An 18-year member of the York City Fire Department has been named Firefighter of the Year for 2017.

Chief David Michaels said Tony Caruso, who has been with the department since 1999, was given the award during the department's annual banquet Saturday, April 7.

“He’s just a very dedicated, hard-working firefighter and very deserving of this award," the chief said.

Firefighter of the year: Caruso, 47, of Springettsbury Township, said he was surprised when he received the title. He said he believed there were other firefighters who were deserving of the award. 

Caruso said he joined the department at age 27 and with no prior firefighting experience. Someone had mentioned to him that the department was looking for firefighters.

"I said, 'What the heck, why not?'" he said.

It's a decision he does not regret.

“It’s just an opportunity for me to do something that I really enjoy doing," Caruso said, adding that's been the case since day one.

“I still just love waking up and going to work," he said.

More: York City firefighters honored for saving lives, helping others

More: York City Fire Dept. names firefighters of the year

Fire officials trust Caruso's judgement, Michaels said, and they know what he's going to do at fire scenes.

"We know we can count on him," he said.

The chief pointed out that Caruso has a sense of caring and compassion. He noted that Caruso has been helping a fellow firefighter whose been going through a serious medical condition. He even helped organize a fundraiser for him, according to Michaels.

Caruso confirmed that he and his wife helped organize the fundraiser. He added that the whole department was helping the firefighter.

"There’s been a lot of guys that have helped with different things," he said.

While Caruso was named firefighter of the year Saturday during the banquet, he will be publicly given the title in the summer, during the department's annual awards ceremony. 

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

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