Sean Ruth was one of four firefighters across the country to be awarded with a Queen’s Fire Service Medal in Her Majesty’s 90th birthday honours.
The father of two has worked for the fire service for 28 years. He joined West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service back in 2009 before being appointed chief fire officer five years later.
The news of his honour was announced three days before his 49th birthday and Sean said it felt extra special to be recognised in the Queen’s 90th birthday honours list.
He said: “It has been overwhelming really. I have just had hundreds of messages which has been fantastic.
“I really think it is a reflection of the fantastic work firefighters across West Sussex have been doing for many years.
“I lead a fantastic organisation with some great people and the work they do every single day of the year is amazing.
“You are only as good as the team that you work with.”
Sean has had to put away the uniform for the past three months as he took over as acting chief executive for West Sussex County Council.
However, he said the new chief executive would be taking over later this month meaning he could return to his position in the fire service.
“I have had to give up the uniform for three months but I am looking forward to putting it back on in a few weeks time,” he said.
“I love it. To reach chief fire officers is an absolute honour and a privilege.”
As well as his commitment to the fire service Sean also coaches an under 12s football team in Reigate where he lives.
He said he celebrated the news by spending the day with the team at an all day football tournament on Saturday, followed by a small gathering the next day.
He said: “We had a really nice weekend.
“We had a few friends round but it wasn’t a celebration it was just a couple of drinks with friends and family.”
County Council Chairman Pat Arculus said: “I am delighted that Sean has been recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours this weekend.
“Sean has been awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal in recognition of his long and distinguished career in the Fire and Rescue Service.
“This honour is well deserved and I’m sure that all West Sussex residents will wish to join me in offering our warmest congratulations to Sean.”
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage
2) Like our Facebook page
3) Follow us on Twitter
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
Always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.