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NMSU Fire Department celebrates Firefighters of the Year, new captains

  • By Emily C. Kelley
  • 575-646-1957
  • ekelley@nmsu.edu
  • Feb 21, 2013
Two men with plaques
The New Mexico State University Fire Department has named its Firefighters of the Year for 2012 and has selected two new captains to lead the department.

Firefighters Eric Adair and William Guin, both NMSU student firefighters, were co-named NMSU Firefighters of the Year for 2012. Peers and supervisors nominated candidates, who were evaluated on leadership skills, initiative, mentoring, dedication and respect for others by the management team. The competition was too close to name only one recipient this year, so both hold the title and have received a recognition award and plaque.

Two new fire captains have joined the department, though neither is a stranger to NMSU or the NMSU Fire Department, as both served as student firefighters while attending NMSU as students.

Chris Aerts has more than eight years in the fire services and served most recently as a captain with the Dona Ana County Fire Department. He served as the unit training officer and emergency medical services coordinator. He has held the rank of lieutenant in operations and captain in administration.

Kellen Tarkington has more than 13 years in the fire service most recently serving as the lead fire investigator for the Dona Ana County Fire Department. He has held the ranks of firefighter, lieutenant, captain and district chief.

Captains are mid-level managers within fire departments and at NMSU are responsible for student firefighters, fire and emergency medical services response, inspections and public education.

The NMSU Fire Department provides emergency and non-emergency services to NMSU and mutual aid to Dona Ana County. The department is organized into the following divisions: administration, operations, fire prevention, emergency management, public education, training and development.

NMSU is one of four universities nationwide to use student firefighters to supplement career staff and has been proudly serving the university since 1921.