Jason Tutay never dreamed of being a firefighter. In fact, he wanted to be a cop.
A lucky break and a helpful mentor led him to the firehouse a dozen years ago.
On Friday, the Sons of the American Revolution honored Tutay for his achievement with the Payson Fire Department, naming him Firefighter of the Year.
Tutay said he was surprised to receive the honor, but honored fellow firefighters had nominated him. Multiple nominations cited Tutay’s helpful attitude and willingness to help others further their firefighting careers.
Fire Chief Marty deMasi said Tutay had become a great mentor to other would-be firefighters and paramedics.
“At each step, he has taken the opportunity to help others along their paths to success,” deMasi said. “He has a sincere interest and aptitude for coaching his fellow firefighters.”
A mentor helped Tutay find the firefighting path years ago.
When Tutay’s brother, Daniel, decided to join the department, he pushed Tutay to join too.
Tutay resisted, however, because he pictured himself more as a police officer than a firefighter. Engineer Henry Jandayan, who is now his stepfather but was then just a good friend, encouraged Tutay to join.
On the last day to register as a reserve, Tutay signed up.
Within a few years, Tutay went from a reserve to full-time firefighter.
“Jason was not satisfied with just getting a job; he has applied himself to improve his capacity to serve,” deMasi said.
Soon after being hired, Tutay entered paramedic training, graduating as valedictorian.
“He has not, however, stopped there,” deMasi said. “This past year, Jason was promoted to the rank of engineer and is currently assigned to Fire Station 11.”
Accepting the award, Tutay said he was grateful for all those that had helped him.
“I have found it is best to use your ears more than your mouth,” he said.