Dedication…that's the word Smyrna man Gerald Mood said it takes to be a firefighter. And it's the same word used by Citizens' Hose Company President Chris Hudson used while describing Mood in a letter to the Delaware Volunteer Firefighter's Association.

Hudson wrote to DVFA to nominate Mood for the State Fireman of the Year award. Mood, 74, was named State Fireman of the Year at a DVFA conference two weeks ago.

"I'm honored but it was a complete surprise," Mood said. "I didn't know that I had done anything exceptional."

In fact Gerald was just as surprised that his wife Linda, who had known for about a month, had been able to keep the award a secret.

"It wasn't [difficult] because it was such an honor that he was receiving, I had to keep it a secret," Linda said.

A desire to join

Mood's father and brother were both members of Citizens' Hose Company so he's always had an interest in being a firefighter. Here is it 56 years later and he's still a member.

Over the years, he's held nearly every fire line office and administrative post. Mood was given a special life membership in 2000 and was made Chief Emeritus in 2006. Mood is only the second person to receive both recognitions.

Mood credits the people involved with the fire department for his desire to remain a member. Previous members laid a great foundation, Mood said, while the current members are a great group of people.

"The previous people before me instilled that pride in you and hopefully you pass that along," Mood said.

Decades of service

The award of State Fireman of the Year isn't Mood's first time being honored. He was named Smyrna's Fireman of the Year in 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2010. The DVFA honored him in 2006 for 50 years of service. Hudson said in his nomination letter that Mood's also the only current member in Citizens' Hose in the "9,000 alarm club," which is for members who have attended more than 9,000 alarms in their time of service.

Along with his individual awards, Mood has been there for a lot of Citizens' Hose Company high points from the Governor's Cup wins and the 75th, 100th, and 125th anniversaries. As a matter of fact, Hudson said Mood is at the firehouse for practically everything whether it's giving a new fire chief advice, working a bingo event, or helping with maintenance of a fire truck; Mood is always willing to help.

"His dedication and commitment is what all the rest of us strive to become," Hudson wrote. "Not matter what he is needed for, Gerald is always there and always willing to help."

Email Jennifer Dailey at jennifer.dailey@doverpost.com.