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Dyson is city's Firefighter of the Year

Nine years ago one of Chris Dyson's friends suggested he join the Rosemount Fire Department. The friend thought Dyson would like the camaraderie involved in being part of the department. The opportunity to help the public. And, sure, the excitement of fighting fires and helping accident victims.

Turns out, the friend was right.

Dyson has been a firefighter ever since. On March 14 the Rosemount American Legion named Dyson its Firefighter of the Year.

The Legion also recognized recently retired Rosemount police sergeant Jim O'Leary as its Police Officer of the Year. The Town Pages featured a story about O'Leary a few weeks ago when he retired.

Kathryn Hoffman received recognition as the 911 Dispatcher of the Year, Jon Edman as its Legionnaire of the Year and Jackie Edman as its Volunteer of the Year.

For Dyson, who was chosen by a panel of his peers, the award came down to going the extra mile. Fire chief Scott Aker said Dyson has been part of a lot of extra projects in the past year. He worked with AAA Auto Salvage when that business wanted to donate rescue jacks to the department, and he worked with CF Industries on the donation of an unmanned fire nozzle that will allow firefighters to fight fires at the plant without putting themselves in danger of inhaling toxic fumes.

Dyson also worked with CF Industries on an exercise meant to prepare firefighters in the event of an ammonia leak at the east Rosemount plant.

"Whenever there's a need of some kind he usually steps forward to fill that," Aker said. "He's very willing to get involved with the department.

Aker said Dyson also provides a lot of guidance to the department's rookies.

Dyson passed off at least some of the credit for his award to AAA Auto and CF Industries. If they hadn't been willing to donate, he pointed out, he wouldn't have had the chance to work with them.

Dyson estimated he spends from five to 10 hours a week on department-related activities, from training to administration to calls.

Getting the award was an honor, Dyson said.

"I think it's great," he said. "I'm proud to have that kind of respect from the other guys, because I have a lot of guys that it could have been. It just happened to be me this time. There's a lot of guys who put in a lot of time and a lot of effort."