Local fireman honored at state banquet

Published 12:08 pm Monday, February 5, 2024

Tryon Fire Department’s Deputy Chief Josh Connell named Career Fire Officer of the Year


On Friday evening, Deputy Chief Josh Connell of the Tryon Fire Department was honored with the Career Fire Officer of the Year by the North Carolina Association of Fire Chiefs at their annual banquet in Concord, N.C. 

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The banquet was a feature in the four-day training and exposition of the Mid-Winter Conference for NCAFC. Connell was nominated by Chief Joshua Walton of the Tryon Fire Department. Additional honorees were for Volunteer Fire Chief, Career Fire Chief, and Volunteer Fire Officer. Over 300 fire officers from around the state attended the training and banquet.

Connell began his firefighting career at Asheville Fire Department, being hired immediately out of Fire Academy. He served there for seven years before bringing his talents to Tryon Fire Department. Connell has been active with programs supporting youth, including a firefighter-led reading program for kids, Shop-With-A-Hero for underprivileged youth and a Secret Santa program, in addition to working with the local Humane Society.

The evening’s address was given by Gian Paul Gonzalez. Prior to the NY Giant’s Christmas Eve game with the NY Jets, Gonzalez delivered the now famous “ALL IN” rally cry message during the NY Giants’ chapel service. He is now widely recognized as having inspired the New York Giants to their Super Bowl victory and was featured on ESPN on Super Bowl Sunday, and has had notable appearances on Fox News, ABC and CNN.