Chamber recognizes Doug Durfee as ‘Man of Year’

By Trish Yerges, for The Observer March 19, 2014 08:53 am

Firefighter Doug Durfee was named “Man of the Year” Tuesday during the Elgin Chamber Banquet’s “Hometown Heroes” dinner and recognition ceremony at the Elgin Community Center.

Chamber President Kem Brainerd  gave an introductory welcome to the audience before the honors ceremony commenced.

“This year’s theme, ‘Hometown Heroes,’ recognizes and celebrates the first responders from our volunteer firefighters and ambulance crew, the men and women who put others and their community ahead of themselves,” Brainerd said. “Our community could not endure long without these brave individuals, and for that we are continually grateful.”

Presenting “Man of the Year” was retired educator and last year’s recipient Bob Thomas, who spoke of Durfee’s many contributions to the community. 

“This individual has had a commitment to Elgin and the Elgin schools for all of his adult life,” Thomas said. “He graduated from Elgin High School in 1973. He has continued to be involved with the school. He’s taken the stats for the football games for 26 years and continues to do that. He’s served many times on the FFA, FBLA and the coaching committees. He’s been on the Elgin Booster Club since 1986. He was also instrumental in the fundraising, purchase and installation of the Elgin Husky reader board.”

In 1996, Durfee started work for W.C. Construction, working in the office. He recently became project manager of the new playground construction at the Tom McDowell City Park.

“He organized the volunteer crews and bringing tools to the job site. He spent more than 75 hours of his time after school and on the weekends to get the job completed,” said Amanda Welch of the Community Center. “We wouldn’t have the playground if it wasn’t for him.’”

Durfee has served as a firefighter for 26 years, which is longer than any other current firefighter. 

“He was elected as senior captain by his peers, which speaks volumes for his leadership abilities,” Thomas said. “(He) was one of the main individuals who spearheaded the building of the new fire station building.”

Also honored at the banquet were Tracy Christopher for “Young Woman of the Year,” Dusty Anderson for “Young Man of the Year” and Evelyn Spikes for “Woman of the Year.” The Stampeders were awarded “Organization of the Year,” and O & M Gas and Groceries was honored as “Business of the Year.”