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Barrow honors paramedic of the year

WINDER -- Barrow County Emergency Services recently recognized Lt. Michael Barnes as its paramedic of the year.

Barnes joined Barrow County in 2003 as a firefighter and technician, later being named rookie of the year for "his hard work and dedication," officials said. After earning his paramedic certification and receiving a "hero award" in 2005 -- for his "outstanding treatment to a trauma patient -- Barnes became an instructor. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2011.

In recent years, he identified the need for medics to respond along with the Barrow County Sheriff's Office's SWAT team and became the unit's first tactical medic, a move that required specialized training.

"Lt. Barnes was nominated by his peers and is well deserving of this award," Barrow Fire Chief Dennis Merrifield said. "He has worked hard for our team and is a true asset to the citizens of the county."