Each year the WNC Association of Firefighters gives an award to an outstanding individual who has distinguished himself or herself in the fire service. The association accepts nominations from across the western part of state from 395 departments and over 13,000 firefighters in search of just such an individual. This year, Asheville firefighter Jay Bettencourt was chosen as WNC Firefighter of the Year. Jay was recognized and presented this award on January 18, 2012 in Lincolnton, NC at the WNCAFF quarterly meeting.
Jay Bettencourt has been a member of the Asheville Fire Department since July 27, 2009. He was selected for this award based on his extreme courage and determination at the fire that took place on July 28, 2011 at 445 Biltmore Ave. Jay desperately searched for an exit, not only for himself, but for his captain as well. FF Bettencourt did locate an exit which meant life for him, but without hesitation he returned to rescue his captain. Unfortunately, in spite of Jay’s courageous efforts, Captain Jeff Bowen lost his life that day.
“Jay’s recognition is well deserved and reflects well not only on him, but as a tribute to his mentor Capt. Jeff Bowen, who always worked toward continuous improvement for himself and for the department,” states Chief Scott Burnette.
Jay recently ran the Charleston Marathon on January 14th in memory of Captain Bowen, a race they were training for together before Captain Bowen’s death.
For more information please contact Public Information Officer Kelley Webb at 828-251-4011.