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Roanoke Fire-EMS captain receives prestigious national award

Roanoke, Virginia – In a commendable achievement for the Roanoke Fire-EMS, Captain Peter Matthiessen has been recognized with the prestigious National Firefighter of the Year award. This significant accolade was presented to him by the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Thursday, marking a high point in his career and for the department.

“He’s dedicated. He’s a team player, he’s a mentor to a lot of our younger firefighters,” praised Roanoke Fire-EMS Deputy Chief Andy Foley. The award underscores Captain Matthiessen’s commitment and hard work, traits that have made him a role model within the community he serves.

“It means a lot to our organization that someone within the organization, especially an officer, has been recognized nationally for a national award for something that he’s worked so hard on, and put a lot of his selfless time into that,” Foley elaborated, highlighting the broad impact of Matthiessen’s dedication not just locally but on a national level.

Captain Matthiessen’s commitment extends beyond his daily duties. He is notably the driving force behind the annual 9/11 Memorial stair climb, an event that not only honors the memory of fallen firefighters but also raises significant funds to support their families. Under his leadership, the climb has successfully raised over $200,000 for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

“We raised about $25,000 a year for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, and that goes not only to children and family members of those first responders that were killed on 9/11, but it continues to go to families of firefighters killed in the line of duty,” Matthiessen explained. He emphasized the importance of remembering those who sacrificed their lives during the tragic events of 9/11, as well as the ongoing support for their families.

Captain Matthiessen views the national recognition not just as a personal honor but as a tribute to the collective efforts of his team. His humility and focus on teamwork highlight the collaborative spirit that defines the firefighting community.

As the 2024 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb approaches, with registration opening on June 1, Captain Matthiessen hopes that his recent accolade will bring more visibility and participation to the event, further aiding the cause of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and continuing to support the families who have lost their loved ones in the line of duty. Through his actions and leadership, Matthiessen exemplifies the core values of bravery, selflessness, and community support that are integral to the role of a firefighter.

Viola Higgins

I’m a mother of 2 little angels that I continuously try to figure out and spend the other half figuring out how to be a great wife. Writing is my passion and I write regularly for the Virginian Tribune and several other national news outlets.

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