Fire Inspector Larry Betts is among a group that was honored by Congressman Vern Buchanan’s 16th District Congressional Fire and Rescue/EMS Awards ceremony. This award ceremony was held on Monday, October 5, 2015, in the evening at the Sarasota County Commissioner Chambers. Congressman Buchanan honored Inspector Larry Betts with the “Dedication and Professionalism Service Award” for his outstanding commitment and tireless efforts to the citizenry and firefighters of the Southern Manatee Fire Rescue District.
Fire Inspector Betts was hired by Southern Manatee Fire Rescue District as a fulltime Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician in October 2002 assigned to one of the District’s Fire Stations where he provided Fire and EMS services to the citizens of Southern Manatee. As a Firefighter/EMT, Larry is well respected by his Officers and fellow firefighters, and is very dedicated in providing outstanding services to the citizens that he served and protected.
In June of 2007 Inspector Betts received the news that everyone fears, much less a 29 year old husband and father of 4 young children, that he had cancer, a very rare cancer called fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma that not only was it rare, but also has a high rate of recurrence. Inspector Betts underwent chemotherapy and surgery to remove the cancerous cells. Since that time the cancer has indeed come back 3 more times. Inspector Betts and his family have endured 4 more surgeries, countless trips to the Mayo Clinic and Moffitt Cancer Centers.
In 2012 Inspector Betts recognized that he would be unable to continue working in the physically demanding field of line Firefighting and Emergency Medical Services, but still wanted to serve in some capacity with the Fire Department. Inspector Betts officially transferred to the Fire Prevention Division in March 2012 and in true “Larry” fashion has excelled at his new duties. Inspector Betts has become an indispensable member of the Fire Marshal’s Office and earned several advanced certifications including Fire Investigator I & II, Fire Safety Inspector I & II, and Instructor. Through all of this Inspector Betts has remained steadfast in his dedication to his fellow firefighters and members of this community.
In June of 2015 another area of cancer was found and once again Inspector Betts and his family must endure the trials and tribulations associated with the treatment of his cancer. One would never know the ongoing battle by the look on his face every morning as a wry of smiles creases the corners of his mouth and you know he is up to something or has a funny story to tell you.
Inspector Betts exudes a quite strength and serves as a constant inspiration and reminder that we must fight the good fight and never let ourselves give in to self-pity. It is without any hesitation, Inspector Betts is well deserving of the “Dedication and Professionalism Service Award” for his outstanding commitment and tireless efforts to the citizenry and firefighters of the Southern Manatee Fire Rescue District.