GIRARDVILLE, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) -- Countless hours spent educating those around him are paying off. A local fire chief is being nationally recognized for making his community safer.
Volunteer Fire Chief Frank Zangari wears many different hats.
For 45 years, he's been a firefighter in Schuylkill County. For 35 of those, he's been Girardville fire chief. He's also president of Schuylkill County fire chiefs association and on the statewide advisory board. And now, a new hat to wear. Award winner! This comes after decades of educating local kids and communities about fire safety.
"Fire prevention is the name of the game! You want to stop it before it starts and destroys properties and lives," said Zangari.
Zangari tells me he uses the National Fire Protection Association's online education tools. And while he does have scheduled times he meets with students, he say's it really is a 24/7 job.
"I meet with someone from the time I open my eyes in the morning till the time I close my eyes," said Zangari.
As an award winner, he gets to attend the national fire association conference in June. There, he'll participate in training programs and he'll network with other fire leaders across the country. The two-thousand dollar award covers travel, lodging and conference costs in Las Vegas.
And while he's 100-percent a volunteer in everything he does, he says the real "pay day" is knowing he's making a difference.
"It's outstanding when you get there and you know the smoke alarms have saved their lives -- because then you know -- the fire prevention, the education -- that what you're doing -- the hours, countless hours -- is working," said Zangari.
Zangari tells us, he still doesn't know who nominated him for the award, but says he's grateful they did.