Longboat Key firefighter/paramedic Jay Gosnell describes the Aug. 10 incident as “just a marine rescue” — just another day on the job. A couple and their young son who were visiting the area went out in rough waters on a rented boat. The boat tipped, and Gosnell was one of six firefighter/paramedics to arrive on scene. Gosnell put on his life jacket and swam out more than 350 feet in the Gulf of Mexico while tethered to a lifeline.
“There was no hesitation,” said Paul Dezzi, Longboat Key Fire Rescue chief. “He knew right away what he had to do.”
The incident was just one example of the conscientiousness that Dezzi cites in his decision to nominate Gosnell for 2010 Kiwanis Club of Longboat Key Firefighter of the Year.
Gosnell, 32, comes from a long line of firefighters and police officers. (His uncles are firefighters, and his brother is a police officer.) He became a paramedic seven years ago for a private company in Akron, Ohio. After approximately six months, he moved to Florida and became a paramedic for Manatee County and, later, a firefighter/paramedic for the Tarpon Springs Fire Department, before joining the Longboat Key department two-and-a-half years ago.
“It’s a family away from your family,” Gosnell said of the Longboat Key Fire Rescue. “The citizens are really nice to us. As a paramedic, you come to work every day to help people.”
Gosnell also works part-time as a flight medic, transporting patients to places as far away as South America, and Quebec, Canada.
Dezzi said that Gosnell always works to learn more but doesn’t seek recognition.
“He doesn’t like to brag,” Dezzi said. “But when we asked the guys who they felt should get (Firefighter of the Year), it was his name that came up — hands down.”
The Kiwanis Club of Longboat Key will honor its 2010 Firefighter of the Year and Police Officer of the Year at its weekly meeting at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, March 10, at the Longboat Key Club and Resort’s Harbourside Grille, 3000 Harbourside Drive.
Longboat Key Kiwanis Foundation Valentine’s Day Ball takes place from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, at the Longboat Key Club and Resort Harbourside Dining Room. The event features a 17-piece band, dancing, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and dinner and recognition of 2010 Kiwanis Club of Longboat Key Citizen of the Year, Matt Walsh. Tickets are $85 per person, $47 of which is tax deductible. The event raises money for local students in need. Contact Bob Gault at 387-8458 or John Wild at 383-4253.
Firefighter/paramedic Jay Gosnell
Hometown: Bradenton Beach
Family: Single, with a girlfriend
Hobbies: Boating, fishing and kayaking
Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected]