July 7, 2010

Larson named American Legion Firefighter of the Year

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

After nearly 30 years as a firefighter, Harold Larson of Arnegard still enjoys serving his community and helping those in need. When Larson joined the fire department 30 years ago, he didn’t do it looking for recognition. He did it because he saw a need.
“I’ve always been interested in firefighting, and I saw a need for firefighters in Wibaux, Mont., so I joined the department,” says Larson. “And when we moved to Arnegard 26 or 27 years ago, it was just natural to join the department here.”
For his years of service as a firefighter and in the community, Larson has been named the North Dakota American Legion Firefighter of the Year. He was presented with a plaque by Legion Commander Jerry Samuelson during the Arnegard Fourth of July Celebration.
“The Watford City American Legion Post nominated Harold not only because he has been a firefighter for 30 years and fire chief for five years, but also because he is always doing something to serve his community,” says Samuelson. “Harold is a great example of someone who served his country through the military, and even though he is no longer in the military, he continues to serve at the community level.”
In addition to being the fire chief in Arnegard, Larson has been the Arnegard Mayor, a member of the Arnegard Lions, the Jaycees, fireworks coordinator for the annual Fourth of July Celebration and a member of his church council, among other things.
“The award was open to 220 Legion Posts in North Dakota, and nominees didn’t have to be a member of the American Legion,” adds Samuelson. “There was a lot of competition for this award and I think Harold is very deserving of the award.”
Larson will now be entered to win the American Legion National Firefighter of the Year Award, which will be given to a firefighter who has exceeded the requirements expected of his or her position and has shown a distinct pattern of community service and professional achievement. The award, which takes into account heroic acts, is given annually at the Legion’s national convention.
“I’m very much honored to receive this award,” states Larson. “I don’t know that I’ve gone above or beyond, but I enjoy helping out in the community, and I guess that is probably part of why I am a firefighter.”