Warrensburg Firefighter Darryl Smithson recently nominated the Fire Chief for a Patriot Award.  Click to hear KMZU’s Sarah Scott speak with  Recipient Phil Johnston:

Phil Johnston

Johnston received the award because of the support he provided while Smithson served his deployments with the Marine Corps Reserves.  “My encouragement to Darryl was part based on simply one human encouraging another, and the other part was I knew how much he enjoyed being a firefighter,” said Johnston, “It’s not the first time I’ve encouraged people, but it’s the first time I’ve been recognized for providing encouragement and it’s quite an honor.”  The Patriot Award is presented to employers or organizations who provide support to employees or members in active military assignments.

Press Release from the City of Warrensburg

The City of Warrensburg would like to congratulate Fire Chief Phil Johnston on receiving the Patriot Award. This award was recently presented to the fire chief in recognition of his tireless support and dedication to employees serving in the military.

Firefighter Darryl Smithson, a member of the United States Marine Corps Reserves, nominated Fire Chief Johnston for the award through the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). ESGR, a Department of Defense agency, is supported by more than 4,800 volunteers in committees located across the nation. These volunteers work to encourage and increase employer support of employees serving in the Guard and Reserve.

Over the years, Firefighter Smithson served in three deployments and was activated for Hurricane Katrina duty. His service to his country took him away from his position as a firefighter in Warrensburg. While away, Fire Chief Johnston continually offered support to Smithson through emails and care packages.

“Chief Johnston did not complain and only encouraged me to be safe and return soon,” Smithson said. “While deployed, Chief Johnston and his family sent care packages and letters of support. He continually told me never to worry about my job and kept reassuring me that someday I would come back.”

Chief Johnston continued to hold Smithson’s job until he was able to return earlier this year. “Chief Johnston has gone above and beyond as an employer, boss and an American,” said Smithson.