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Source: Kokomo Tribune

Firefighter of the Year: KFD's Plough humbled by honor from state's American Legion

By Cody Neuenschwander

KOKOMO – Scott Plough, a firefighter with the Kokomo Fire Department, was awarded Firefighter of the Year by The American Legion, Department of Indiana, a distinction that Plough said left him humbled.
Firefighter Scott Plough, American Legion's 2017 Indiana Firefighter of the Year
Plough, who has been with the KFD since 2006, specified that being selected by a group of military veterans from multiple wars, who form the deciding body for the American Legion award, was particularly an honor.

“Those are people that you usually look at them and you should be telling them … ‘thank you, we respect you for what you’ve done for us,’ and for them to turn that around and say ‘we respect you too’ or ‘we think you need to be recognized,'” is a great feeling, Plough said.

To win the state-level award, the process has to start locally. The KFD administration selected Plough to represent the department within the fifth district. There are 11 districts in Indiana.

Fire Chief Nick Glover said Plough was selected because of his local service, as well as his military service – Plough is in the United States Air Force Reserves. “He’s a really sharp firefighter,” Glover added, saying he thinks it’s important for people who serve to be recognized.

Plough said he had to put together a packet detailing his work with the fire department coupled with his community service. Each nominee submits a packet, and that’s used to select the top firefighter from each district, and from there, they go to a state convention. That’s where the Firefighter of the Year is selected, as well as the top police officer and EMS.

Plough said he didn’t know he had won the state award when he went to Indianapolis for the convention, and he was surprised when his name was called.

Currently, Plough’s the driver of Rescue 1. He’s responsible for getting the engine to a scene safely, and keeps track of equipment.

It’s a job that forces you to remain aware, he said. While driving the huge engine to a scene, he’s responsible for the safety of everyone on board, and for other motorists.

“You drive to a stoplight, and if it’s green, you’re 100 percent natural reaction is to go, but you don’t know there’s a … fire truck coming through the intersection, so I need to be very cognitive of all that,” Plough said.

It might seem like a daunting responsibility to many but, Plough said, like any job, you learn the ropes – like what to look out for at an intersection.

But the best days, he said, are the ones when no calls come in at all – because it means people are safe.

“Any time I have to work, it’s a bad situation for somebody,” he said.

That being said, it’s always good to know you’re helping someone when they need it, he said.

“You may go on a car accident or a fire, and then people will show up … and they’ll say ‘thank you, I’m the guy who was in the accident the other day,’ and that’s a very humbling thing, too," he said.

Plough’s uncle also is a firefighter, and that’s where he said he found the inspiration to follow that career path.

“I love the fact it’s different every single day,” he said. “I never know what I’m going to get into.”

It’s a job that allows him to form a unique bond with other firefighters, regardless of whether they’ve met or not.

“There’s an instant connection there,” he said.

Plough thanked the local Post 6 and the American Legion for the nomination, and said he’s appreciative of their recognition of first responders.

Glover said he and the department of proud of Plough.

“It’s an honor for me as chief of the department … we’re really proud of Scott, and things he’s accomplished not only here at the fire department, but also in his life with the military,” Glover said.

According to an American Legion, Department of Indiana press release, Plough has taken part in multiple charitable events including the 911 Slugfest Boxing Match for the Make A Wish Foundation and the EOD Warrior Foundation. He has also attained numerous fire service certifications.

Cody Neuenschwander can be reached at 765-454-8570 or by email at cody@kokomotribune.com

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