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A fire on a patio deck pulled Celina Firefighter of the Year Shawn McCarty away from majoring in turf management at Texas A&M University to a volunteer firefighter in Celina.

In his second year at A&M a fire at the house he and his roommates were renting motivated McCarty to put his management career on hold to attend TEEX fire academy for firefighting and EMT training in College Station.

“The AC unit caught on fire (at the rental house) and we had to call the fire department,” McCarty said. “Just seeing what the firefighters did made me want to become one.”

He said he knew he made the right decision as he finished fire academy.

“The day after the fire school ended I moved back to Celina and joined the Celina Volunteer Fire Department,” McCarty said.

He has been with the fire department for 16 months.

“I feel great about being named firefighter of the year,” he said. “It was unexpected.”

He was modest about winning the award at the Celina Fire Department’s Pinning Ceremony on Monday at Celina High School. He said others deserved it as well.

McCarty is a volunteer firefighter and has a full-time job working for Subway preparing new stores to be opened in the North Texas area.

He said he is waiting to get on full-time with the Celina Fire Department.

“I’m going to stay a volunteer until my time comes,” McCarty said. “I love Celina and I love the guys I work with at the station and I can’t see myself working any other place.”

Celina Fire Department Assistant Chief Mark Metdker said McCarty has taken on a number of responsibilities at the firehouse and is a hard working individual.

“He has shown good judgment and leadership qualities,” Metdker said.

Metdker added that McCarty is helping to build the department by working with the youth of Celina. The firefighter’s explorer unit is an example of his efforts.

“He has taken over the explorer unit and is doing an excellent job,” Metdker said. “He is the type of young man we want to build our department around.”

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I can’t think of a better way to have spent my time. It was eye-opening and extremely thought-provoking. We, unfortunately, had an opportunity almost immediately to implement some of the advice you and your team gave us when a small plane crashed in the woods south of our airport on Wednesday morning. Sadly, both individuals in the plane were killed. Your advice on communications was extremely valuable to us during and after that incident.

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