Siloam Springs Herald Leader Proud 2018

SSHL Proud 2018

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Some say Kyle Huffman deserved to win firefighter of the year both for his department and the state of Arkansas because of his work ethic and attitude. "He's like the epitome of the type of employee we want to have," said Siloam Springs Fire Chief Jeremey Criner. "He shows up to work every day with a great attitude. He's very, very ca - pable of doing his job. He's always willing to help out and mentor his peers." Huffman, however, points to the loss he's ex- perienced in his personal life as a driving force for his success. A childhood best friend. A mentor. Most important, his own father. "It gives me motivation to make a difference," Huff - man said. "I've been on the other side of losing people, and if I could help some- one or save somebody in a year — it doesn't matter, one person is one person." Some deaths have warn- ing signs, and Huffman has purposed himself to not only learn them, but the techniques to bring oth- ers back to their families — alive. Huffman's parents decid- ed to move the family, their two boys, to Arkansas from California for work when Huffman was five years old. Huffman, his brother and four adopted sisters grew up going to Siloam Springs Public Schools. Baseball, football, bas - ketball, swimming, track and field — Huffman not only played several sports, but he was an all-state performer in football and a successful discus thrower in track and field. The awards, though, aren't what he remembers when he thinks back to the days he used to play. Huffman said he draws on the lessons in commitment, teamwork and pride. "Growing up on a team is what I know. And I know everyone has a part," Huff - man said. "Not one person can do everything and win or get the job done." Part of that sense of purpose was fostered in the home he grew up in. Whether it was finishing a season of baseball when he wanted to quit after the first game, or filing paper - work in the office of his father's concrete business, Huffman was raised to not go halfway in anything that he does. The same applied to firefighting. Huffman be - came a volunteer fire- fighter for the Highfill Fire Department in 2012 with no professional training whatsoever, but knew he had found what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He was working as a project estimator for his father's concrete company when he began pursuing his Emergency Medical Technician license. After completing the program, he went where was familiar and applied for a position with the SSFD. In 2014, he passed the required written and physical examinations and became a full-time employee. But Huffman didn't stop there. The draw to a fast- paced, always-changing workflow kept him vol - unteering at Highfill and drew him to the police force. Today, Huffman is a patrolmen with the Highfill Police Department, a para- medic firefighter for the SSFD and Chief of Training for the HFD. Chiefs at Siloam Springs said the decision to hire him has possibly been one of the best for the depart - ment. "He strives to learn every discipline and he wants to probably master each discipline before he moves to something else," said Chief of Operations Travis White. "He's a motivated, energetic person." That dedication to ex - cellence is what solidifies Huffman's future success. "Kyle has the potential to do whatever he wants to do in this job," Criner said. "He's got the intelligence, he's got the motivation. It sounds cliche, but the sky's the limit." Huffman's natural-born ability to connect with oth - er firemen makes him very valuable, White said. As an informal leader, Huffman builds a sort of confidence with similar ranking fire- men. That relationship al- lowed him to win the col- lective vote for the depart- ment's 2017 Firefighter of the Year. "He's the best firefighter I know," said Captain Jordan Jackson, a twelve- year department veteran and Huffman's longest acting captain. "He just doesn't settle for medioc - rity. I think as far as being his captain, anyone would want to be that guy." Huffman said his depart- ment's support is hum- bling. "I think it's awesome. It shows I can do my job, but I'm also hopefully a good mentor to these guys. I want good people respond - ing to my family. If I could be an informal leader and help them move in the right direction, hopefully I don't have to worry about someone not knowing Proud People & Places 2C n Wednesday, June 27, 2018 Siloam Springs Herald-Leader Serving Siloam Springs, USA & Surrounding Areas Like us on: 24 HR. 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BROADWAY • siloamfl Paid for by Lundstrum for State Representative STATE REPRESENTATIVE ROBIN LUNDSTRUM Proud to represent Siloam Springs The Golden State didn't hold a bright future for United States Navy sailor Shawn Hunter when she was honorably discharged and began looking for work. Her husband offered no support while she looked to grow roots away from her home state, so Hunter made the decision to leave California and return to the community she had with her family. Hunter wasn't just making the move for herself, how - ever — she was moving for her future son. Hunter reflects on being a single parent the way you would expect her to. "Life wasn't easy." Because of her circum - stances, Hunter joined a growing minority. In the 2017 United States Census Bureau's March Population Survey, the Bureau estimat- ed the number of mother- only households for children under 18 years of age from a sample of 98,000 addresses. In 2017, that number was 16,767 households. In 1960, that number was 5,105 households. Analyzing some of the same data, the Pew Research Center reported in April, "one-in-four parents living with a child in the United States today are unmar - ried. This marks a dramatic change from a half-century ago, when fewer than one- in-10 parents living with their children were unmar- ried." Life with a young boy and dreams of education were made possible by friends and family who helped Hunter settle in and begin exploring options for work and school. Job-related in - juries working on engines caused neck and back pain, so returning to similar Single parent scholarship recipient shares her success by giving back By Sierra Bush Special to the Herald-Leader Sierra Bush/Special to the Herald-Leader Shawn Hunter, owner of Inuendos Design Compnay, attributes much of her education success to the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Benton County. Sierra Bush/Special to the Herald-Leader Siloam Springs Fireman Kyle Huffman was named Firefighter of the Year for the state of Arkansas by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Huffman named Arkansas Firefighter of the Year By Sierra Bush Special to the Herald-Leader See HUFFMAN on Page 8C H e's like the epitome of the type of employee we want to have. He shows up to work every day with a great attitude. He's very, very capable of doing his job. He's always willing to help out and mentor his peers. Jeremey Criner Siloam Springs Fire Chief See HUNTER on Page 8C

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