Blue Angels honor La Crosse’s Firefighter of the Year

Bryon Stein gifted honorary flight for his service to community

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — When people win an award, they’re usually given a medal or trophy, but not Wednesday. A La Crosse firefighter walked away with nothing — except the ride of his life. A ride he said he’ll remember for a long time.

We’ve all dreamt of flying. The Blue Angels are in La Crosse taking those dreams to realistic heights.

“The reputation that they have, they earned it,” said Bryon Stein, the La Crosse Fire Department’s Firefighter of the Year.

Stein flew through the air Wednesday afternoon at speeds that can make a person pass out.

“It’s a workout,” said Stein, who remained alert throughout his flight.

“Any level of awesomeness that I thought it was gonna be – way more,” Stein said.

The mission of the Blue Angels is to showcase the pride and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Stein understands a commitment to excellence too. He has served with the La Crosse Fire Department for 26 years.

In February, Stein received the Firefighter of the Year award for going above and beyond for his hometown.

“I’ve heard the saying, ‘be the change you want to see.’ That’s true,” he said.

He remembers the lessons his father taught him. This past year was hard, but Stein hopes more people take up a calling to service.

“Try to leave things better than you find it,” Stein said. “It just makes the world a better place.”

Teamwork makes dreams possible. Everyone has a role to play.

“This is proof of what you can accomplish when you work together,” Stein said. “That’s what makes our country great. That’s what makes life great.”

A symphony where everyone plays a part for a higher purpose.

“I’ll be trying to put this into words for a long time,” Stein said.

It’s how a life in service elevates to new heights. Stein said he looks forward to coming to work every day, and serving La Crosse is like hitting the lottery.