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Firefighter Keith Wadsworth honored with Distinguished Citizen Medal

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Firefighter Keith Wadsworth honored with Distinguished Citizen Medal
Photo by Lea Kahn/Staff Princeton firefighter Keith C. Wadsworth accepts the Distinguished Citizen Medal award by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution at a Princeton Council meeting in February.

Princeton firefighter Keith C. Wadsworth has been awarded with the Distinguished Citizen Medal by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

Wadsworth, who is a career firefighter with the Princeton Fire Department, was presented with the medal at the Princeton Council’s Feb. 26 meeting by representatives of the DAR’s Princeton chapter.

The medal is awarded to individuals who have given outstanding service to their communities and their country, said Claudia Wilson Anderson of the Princeton chapter of the DAR.

“This award recognizes Keith’s extraordinary actions in many critical rescue and lifesaving situations,” Wilson Anderson said.

“In the words of (the philosopher) Aristotle, ‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.’ Keith, your work is at that level of excellence,” she said.

The DAR Distinguished Citizen Medal is awarded to emergency first responders, emergency health responders, active-duty military and veterans of the United States armed forces.

Citizens who have contributed to the defense and security of the community, state or nation in an exceptional manner are eligible for the award.

The criteria for selection includes honor, service, courage, leadership and patriotism.

Wadsworth was presented with a Unit Citation award by Michael Yeh, Princeton’s director of Emergency Services, in March 2023 for his role in responding to calls for help during Tropical Storm Ida in 2021.

Wadsworth and three firefighters that made up the crew conducted more than a dozen rescues of people who were stranded or trapped in their vehicles by rising floodwaters.

Wadsworth is a third-generation member of the Princeton Fire Department. His father, Keith Wadsworth, and his grandfather, the late Ray Wadsworth, served as Princeton Fire Department fire chiefs.

Wadsworth joined the fire department, which was at the time an all-volunteer department, as a junior firefighter in 2005. He became a full member of the Princeton Fire Department on his 18th birthday.

In 2020, when the Princeton Fire Department transitioned to a combination fire department made up of career and volunteer firefighters, Wadsworth was hired as one of its first career firefighters.