Tigard American Legion Post 158 presented its Firefighter of the Year Award on Feb. 17 to Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue Lt. Kurt Koudelka of Station 35 in King City.
The annual award honors a firefighter who goes above and beyond what is expected and shown a distinct pattern of community service and professional achievement. Koudelka, who joined TVF&R’s team in 1999 after serving six years in the fire service in Alaska, has exceeded all of those requirements.
During his distinguished career, Koudelka has been recognized by the Fire District for his expert firefighting skills, superior medical knowledge and outstanding commitment to service.
His knowledge and experience have prompted him to be called upon to share his hazardous materials expertise with partner agencies and serve as a field training officer, critical skills instructor and mentor to new firefighters.
He has been the recipient of a Meritorious Service Award, an Outstanding Employee Award and the International Association of Firefighters Local 1660 President’s Award. He has also received three Special Unit Citations, including one for his teamwork and performance to ensure crew safety during a house fire.
In addition to his outstanding service on the job, Koudelka co-authored a TVF&R history book, preserving the legacy of the Fire District. This extensive project shares the unique story of local firefighters who were proud to serve their communities and paved the way for the men and women who serve today.
When he is not on duty, Koudelka volunteers in his children’s schools and has driven for Meals on Wheels to deliver meals to homebound seniors. When Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast and displaced thousands of people, Koudelka volunteered with Medical Teams International to help those most impacted by the tropical cyclones.
His commitment to serving those both near and far led to Koudelka earning the distinction as Tigard American Legion’s Firefighter of the Year.