|Michael Thorin, 1991 graduate honored as Hoover Firefighter of the Year
Michael Thorin joined the Hoover Fire Department as a part-time employee in June 2008 and quickly was made full-time in October of the same year. In November 2012, he was promoted to fire apparatus operator. He has served at Station No. 6 in Deer Valley, Station No. 5 in Bluff Park and Station No. 4 on Municipal Drive.
His contributions to the Fire Department have been many, Chief Chuck Wingate said. He served as a medic for the tactical response team, helped procure a Firehouse Subs Foundation grant to purchase emergency medical equipment for the tactical team and served as a valuable member of the department's technology team, helping establish the department's first website.
Thorin had to make a tough decision in the middle of 2014 after he began experiencing medical issues that affected his performance at work, Wingate said. The symptoms were quickly getting worse and affecting him daily, and he reported them because he feared he might be placing himself, his coworkers and Hoover residents in danger, Wingate said.
Extensive evaluations were done by physicians at the Birmingham VA Medical Center, and diagnoses so far indicate his problems are related to his military service in the Gulf War.
From 1990 to 2009, Thorin served as a stateside medic with the Army and Army National Guard. He also served as a combat medic in Afghanistan for six months in 2003 and performed security and reconnaissance operations in Iraq for 18 months starting in 2005. He received numerous awards, including three Army commendation medials, seven Army achievement medals, a combat action badge, an Afghanistan combat medal, Iraq campaign medal, Army service medal and Army overseas service medal.
Thorin retired from the Hoover Fire Department in August and remains under evaluation and treatment for his illnesses.