The Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company awarded the first annual Natalie Dempsey Memorial Award for the Firefighter of the Year Saturday, March 2.
The award, sponsored by the Atlantic City Fleet Reserve Association Branch 13, was given to Dempsey's family in recognition of her devotion to the fire company and local community. Dempsey, 21, passed away Christmas morning 2018 after her vehicle swerved off the road and struck a guardrail while responding to a call. Nearly a thousand firefighters and first responders from all over the Northeast attended her funeral.
"We heard the story of Natalie Dempsey, who lost her life responding to a fire in our local area early on Christmas morning," said Al Davenport, president of the local Fleet Reserve Association Branch 13. "As a group, we reached out to the Mizpah Fire Company and asked if we could help in any way, and suggested an honor award to be presented each year in memory of Natalie. We would sponsor the award each year and award it to the firefighter of the year, as chosen by the fire company."
The ceremony, conducted at the station, recognized Dempsey's service with a plaque and check awarded to her family by members of the Fleet Reserve Association.
"Few young woman join fire departments and become valued members as firefighters," Davenport said. "We hope that this small honor will remind the many of the valuable contributions that all firefighters make."