Mike Cundiff named Vienna Firefighter of the Year

Photo by Jeffrey Saulton Mike Cundiff has been named the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department Firefighter of the Year for 2017.

VIENNA — Three years ago Mike Cundiff had never thought of volunteering for fire fighting duty, but he was looking for something to keep active and he decided to look into it. Fast forward three years and he is the Vienna Firefighter of the Year for 2017.

Cundiff has lived in Vienna for about 20 years. A graduate of Doddridge County High School, Cundiff said he has lived around the state.

“I was born in Gassaway, lived in Seneca Rocks and now Vienna,” he said.

Cundiff said he got involved in working with the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department to give to the community.

“I don’t have any history or family members that were in the fire service before,” he said. “I was active with my children while they were active in high school. My daughter graduated and I helped out with Old Man Rivers for a year.”

Cundiff said he decided he needed something more active.

“I started thinking about and came down to the department to talk to the chief,” he said. “Again I didn’t know anything about it, but he said people either love it or hate it.”

After three years Cundiff said he in the “love it” category.

“It’s (the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department) is like a second family,” he said. “When I came down here I was looking for something to do, I didn’t know or have any idea of how busy it was or the amount of training you go through.

“It’s just a great experience.”

Cundiff said he has one thing about the department he doesn’t like.

“It’s the pager in the middle of the night,” he said.

Cundiff added since he started with the department in his 40s, he hasn’t thought about the department or firefighting as a career.

“I just want to do it as long as I can do it decently,” he said. “You really don’t make plans in the fire service; you’re kind of along for the ride and do as much as you can do and develop yourself as much as you can.”

Cundiff said he was in good enough shape to be a volunteer, but he learned it is hard to be in good enough shape.

“I’m physically active but there is nothing that compares to it,” he said. “Stand out in the freezing weather in the middle of the night or in the gear in the summer training in a live burn. Physically I can’t imagine any parallel to it.”

Cundiff said he learned of the award at the annual Vienna Volunteer Fire Department Christmas dinner.

“I was pleased and very happy with it,” he said.

Cundiff is married and the father of three children and is employed as a systems analyst in the Bureau of the Fiscal Service.

To be eligible for the award, the firefighters have to be members past their one-year probationary period and have one year of service.