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FARMINGTON, Minn. — Miesville Fire Chief Tom Latuff recently accepted the Dakota Spirit of Excellence Award at a ceremony at the fire station in front of the department and his family.

Latuff is the 2020 winner of the Dakota Spirit of Excellence Award presented by Dakota Electric Association to recognize first responders and the brave work they do. The award highlights a first responder who demonstrates leadership, dedication to serving others, teamwork and other attributes.

Assistant Fire Chief Chris Vieths spoke highly of Latuff and said he has helped all of them be better fire fighters and community servants.

“Tom has paved the way for our department to become better,” Vieths said on behalf of the entire department. “Through his drive and through his commitment to the department, he has pushed all of us to become better fire fighters and better servants in our community.”

Serving on the department also means a big commitment of time, which Vieths acknowledged.

“He has sacrificed a lot of his free time and time with his family,” Vieths said. “From all of us, there is no one that I know on our department that deserves this award more, thank you!”  

Dakota Electric’s Board Chair Jerry Pittman, who presented the award, described the reason for it and how it supports the cooperative’s principle of commitment to the community.

“This year, the fire fighters felt strongly that this year’s award needed to go to the chief who represents the characteristics of the award very well,” Pittman said during the ceremony. “We are pleased to present this award to Tom Latuff and a check to the department for $5,000.”

Latuff said the department will use the $5,000 donation to replace a ladder on a fire truck and for thermal imaging cameras for use in fighting fires and helping rescue people in structural fires.

“I want to thank Dakota Electric for the work they do, and for their support they show to the communities,” Chief Latuff said. “Thank you, Dakota Electric for everything you do for us.”

Pictures and a video of the award ceremony are available on Dakota Electric’s website and Facebook page.

A customer-owned, non-profit utility since 1937, Dakota Electric Association provides electricity to more than 109,000 members throughout Dakota County and portions of Goodhue, Rice and Scott counties. Dakota Electric, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, serves its member-owners with integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community.