CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ)- Gallitzin firefighter Robert “Herb” Nagle will receive a state and national firefighter of the year award for his 58 years of service. Herb started firefighting when he was 17 years old. However, he was exposed to the atmosphere at an earlier age, watching both his father and grandfather serve the community.
“As a youngster, I remember being around and helping out at the fire station when these guys were all pretty active,” Nagle said. “But I was very young at that age, but I always seemed to want to be here.”
He has earned multiple National Board certifications throughout his career, including Firefighter 1, Mobile Water Supply, and Pump Operator. Herb’s only time taking a break from firefighting was when he served in the Vietnam War for two years.
Herb is recognized at the station as being a mentor and teacher to hundreds of young firefighters. He taught classes as big as 200 and as small as 10. Even after all these years, Herb still will come to the station when calls come through.
“I just can’t walk away and let the place without any help,” Nagle said. “That’s why I still belong to a fire department.”
One of Herb’s mentors is R. Raymond Lenz. Lenz worked under Herb’s father during his career. Lenz admires Herb’s work ethic and knows how much the station means to him.
“He helped to start the Cambria County fire school. They got a special place,” Lenz said. “He helped to get the buildings built there. If the fire whistle would blow, he would grab the driver seat and take off.”
Herb will be traveling to Harrisburg to receive Pennsylvania’s Firefighter of the Year Saturday. He will travel to Phoenix, Arizona, to receive the AL’s National Firefighter of the Year award in August. Herb is still in shock that he’s receiving these honors.
“I’m just very humbled for the fact that they are honoring me with this award,” Nagle said.
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