Michigan Firefighter Wins Award Named After His Father

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Brian Fryling won the Fryling-Yonkers Firefighter of the Year Award in Wyoming, Mich. The award is named after his father and another firefighter who died in the line of duty 30 years ago.

“This is an absolutely huge honor for me,” said Fryling. “You’re in pretty good company when you win this award. I was just speechless.”

Fryling, a member of inSpirit Christian Reformed Church in Byron Center, Mich., has been a firefighter for 10 years.

Fryling’s father, also a firefighter, died while fighting a restaurant fire when Fryling was 9 years old.

Brian Fryling, Firefighter of the Year

Ryan Struyk

“I think that [my father] would be immensely proud that I followed after what he did in the fire service and then to get this award.”

Fryling won the award for saving a man’s life last August. He was working at another job when a co-worker went down.

“He went into cardiac arrest and pretty much died,” said Fryling. Fryling performed CPR on the man for about 30 minutes. “We used the defibrillator three times on him and brought him back to life.”

“You hate to say it’s not a big thing, but it’s just what we do,” he said. “It’s humbling to see the gratitude that [he and his family] have for me.”

Fryling knows it wasn’t a coincidence that he was working that shift, even though he wasn’t scheduled. “I tell everybody it was God’s work—not mine,” he said.

Fryling, who is also a CPR instructor, has performed CPR on almost 40 people.

“I feel it is just hugely important that people learn CPR because you just never know what is going to happen. It doesn’t take much to get into a class, and you can save somebody’s life.”

About the Author

Ryan Struyk was a former Banner news correspondent for classes Grand Rapids South and Thornapple Valley. 

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