The calls never let up for the personnel of the Bridge City Fire and Rescue.

For instance, they received a call about a fire in Orangefield at the beginning of their annual banquet Saturday night at the fire station. Chief Brent Morse said the BCFR, which also part of the Orange County Emergency Services District #2 that covers Bridge City and Orangefield, responded to 1,300 calls last year.

It’s because of that dedication that the department held their annual banquet for the firefighters and recognize them.

“This shows we appreciate our volunteers,” Morse said. “They spend time here day and night away from their families and risk their lives. This banquet keeps up their morale.”

Lt. Mike Garza, consequently, was named as 2011 Firefighter of the Year at the ceremony.

Garza began his acceptance speech with the famous quote by baseball player Lou Gehrig, “Today, I consider myself to be the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”

“I’m very fortunate to receive this award because of all the people who are eligible for it. They all deserve it. We all love it.,” he said. “When you love something, you never work a day in your life.”

The 20-year veteran firefighter thanked his family for their support, his brothers and sisters in the department, and the good leadership of the department.

“We received some much needed apparatus and equipment. We have good training and our young firefighters are eager. We do this for the pride, not the pay,” Garza said.

In addition to naming the firefighter of the year, James Fisette was named Officer of the Year, Ramona Hanks as Medic of the Year and Lieutenant of the Year, Joe Gilbert.

One sad note for the department was the loss this year of 30-year BCFR member Leroy Breaux.

The department was also presented with a picture of the Little Dribblers All-Star team for BCFR’s support of them.

Entertainment was provided by Anthony Walker’s Gulf Coast Power Pro Wrestling after the ceremony, complete with a wrestling ring on the ground.

Bridge City Fire and Rescue has been in existence for 59 years and Morse said they have been having the annual banquets for at least the 19 years he has been a member.

Chaplain Tammi Fisette said in her benediction that residents in Bridge City are “very blessed.”