The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

June 3, 2013

Danville firefighter Young first woman to win prestigious American Legion award

DANVILLE — Mahoning Township Fire Department Deputy Chief Leslie Young, who has been chosen National Firefighter of the Year by the American Legion, will be the first woman in the nation to receive the award. She is also the first Pennsylvania resident to achieve the honor.

While the awards program has existed nearly 20 years in Pennsylvania, the award has been presented on the national level for four years, said Joseph Grassi, deputy director of the national security and foreign relations division of the National American Legion, Friday.

“Leslie will be the fourth firefighter to receive this national award. She is the first Pennsylvanian selected for this national award. The first two winners were from Georgia and last year’s winner was from Illinois,” he said.

Young was nominated by Danville American Legion Post 40. Post Commander Dean VonBlohn announced earlier this week he was notified of her winning the national award. She previously was announced as the Pennsylvania winner.

Reached Friday, Young said finding out she was the first woman to win the national honor “was almost as big of a shock as winning the award. I’m still trying to get a handle on this — it’s still a little unbelievable.”

Young said many people have been commending her.

The national award is presented 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 presented annually at the Legion’s national convention.

The Danville Legion will recognize her achievement June 12.

The American Legion will provide travel, hotel and other reasonable expenses for Young and her husband to make the round trip to the national convention city, Grassi said.

The convention is scheduled for late August in Houston, Texas.

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