KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee Ambulance Service Association named A.J. Spoone the Paramedic of the Year.

Spoone is a firefighter at the Knoxville Fire Department and a paramedic with Jefferson County EMS. He has 18 years of experience working as a first responder and says it is the best job he could have.

“Just like everybody else, you just want to help people. It’s a higher calling almost, you want to help people as much as you can,” Spoone said.

He was told he won the award right after getting back from a tough call.

“I was very shocked, I got the call from the director of the Tennessee Ambulance Service Association right after we got done running the call on Magnolia Avenue. I got back and I had a voicemail from him saying I received the award,” Spoone said.

He was referring to the deadly drag racing crash that occurred on Magnolia Avenue in January. Spoone said tough calls are part of the job, and his goal is to share his knowledge and experience with others.

“For the past 11 years, I’ve pretty much been dedicated to the craft, always trying to get better. I’ve become an instructor in EMS and paramedicine. I’ve tried to pass forward the information that I’ve got floating around,” Spoone said.

Spoone is not the only firefighter to be recognized in recent months. He works alongside Jacob O’Quinn at both KFD and Jefferson County EMS. O’Quinn was named EMS of the year by the Region 2 EMS Directors Association in November.

“I was kind of shocked, I mean most people don’t do this job for an award. It was kind of new to me to see my doing good to be getting an award for something you don’t expect,” O’Quinn said.

He said the honor is even more special knowing his friend and co-worker received a similar award.

“It was most definitely different, especially since we both work at the same station now. We both worked in other parts of the city and ended up here on different shifts which is kind of cool, because we work in Jefferson County together, so being able to work at our second job together as well is pretty neat,” O’Quinn said.

The two men work at KFD Station 16 together, and both volunteer with other agencies in addition to their two jobs.