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Longtime Pelham firefighter/EMT Eric Fehmel posed with his six--year-old son, Max, outside Pelham Town Hall August 6. Fehmel was the guest of honor at the night's Pelham Board of Selectmen meeting, where Commander Mark McCabe of the John H. Hargreave VFW Memorial Post 10722 in Pelham presented him with the New Hampshire VFW 2013 EMT of the year award. Fehmel has worked for the Pelham Fire Department for the past 13 years. (APRIL GUILMET/Union Leader Correspondent))

Building by day, saving lives by night

Pelham firefighter/EMT is VFW EMT of the Year

PELHAM — After more than a decade serving with the Pelham Fire Department, firefighter/EMT Eric Fehmel still doesn’t consider it his full-time job.

A union carpenter by day, Fehmel said he’s content with his daytime career path and the days he spends hammering, sawing and building.

But when he turned 25, Fehmel became increasingly intrigued with firefighting.

“It was kind of late in the game, but it was still something I wanted to do,” the married father of two said.

After completing his training, Fehmel signed on with his local fire department as a part-time firefighter and EMT. Since then, he’s led somewhat of a double life, but he’s never once regretted it.

“These are my nights, my weekends,” said Fehmel, motioning to his firefighting brothers clad in their dress blues.

Now actively involved in the Pelham Firefighters Association, he credits the love of his family, including his wife, Julia, and children Max, 6, and Grace, 2, for keeping him on the right path.

“She’s the one who really makes this possible,” Fehmel said, beaming in his wife’s direction.

Aug. 8 marked his 13th anniversary with the Pelham Fire Department.

Fehmel’s success in balancing his many life roles hasn’t gone unnoticed.

During the August 6 Pelham Board of Selectmen meeting, Fehmel was honored by town officials and peers during a special presentation from Commander Mark McCabe of the John H. Hargreaves VFW Memorial Post 10722, who declared him the state’s VFW 2013 EMT of the Year.

“He has a long record of exemplary and extraordinary service within the community, and he’s earned the respect of both his peers and the general public,” McCabe said of Fehmel. “Eric is just a great example for what all EMT’s should try to emulate.”

The local post commander said he was pleased to see a local EMT achieve statewide recognition, noting the selection process can be long.

“We submit our nominations at a local level, then it goes up the chain of command,” McCabe said. “It passes through the district, then to the state. So this is a very exciting moment for us.”

As the state’s latest EMT of the year, Fehmel is now eligible for a shot at the national honors.

In the meantime, he’s enjoying some recognition a bit closer to home.

“Max is always telling me he wants to work at a firehouse with me when he grows up,” he said of his young son, who was happily trying on his father’s cap in a seat nearby, an enormous grin on his small face. “Now that he’s six, he tells me it’s about time the right for him to come and work with his daddy.”

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