Scott Yarnell was “totally shocked” to be named 2020 firefighter of the year at Inter-Community Volunteer Fire Department’s annual banquet Jan. 8.

“You never think you’re up for that kind of award, and then to get picked, it’s just...” Yarnell said. “I’ve got five years experience with other departments, then I moved over here to Panola County about six years ago, and I just got involved last year, and to me there was other people more deserving, in my opinion. But to get picked by my peers, ‘cause from what I understand it was a unanimous vote among my peers for this award. It’s an honor, it really is. I was totally blown away by it.”

Yarnell just finished up an EMT class the first week of January, and in about two weeks he’ll take his EMT national registry test.

“That’s a big accomplishment,” he said. “Inter-Community actually has the privilege of having full paramedics and I think four or five EMTs. We’re one of the few volunteer fire departments that has that kind of level of medical expertise within the department.”

Yarnell is retired and a rancher, and it was his wife who got them involved in the fire department after their neighbor’s house caught fire in 2019. She is also a member.

“I’ve only been with them probably nine months, and I just got involved, and I show up and help out the station, show up at fires, car accidents and stuff like that, just doing what I can to help,” he said.

Other firefighters given awards during the banquet were:

  • Nancy Blake — 15 years of service
  • Jerry Owens — 15 years of service
  • Chief Nick Morton — 10 years of service
  • District Chief Robert DelConte — five years of service
  • Sheila Delconte — five years of service
  • David Britt — most improved firefighter for 2020

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