By MC2 Michael Lopez
Navy Public Affairs Support Element East, Detachment Southeast
Congressman John Rutherford, Florida's 4th Congressional District, visited Naval Station (NAVSTA) Mayport's Fire Station to meet with firefighters and Sailors assigned to base security Jan. 24.
Rutherford wanted to thank the Sailors and firefighters for their service, and gather their thoughts on how he can best represent them on congressional issues moving foreword.
"NAVSTA Mayport is right in the heart of my district," said Rutherford.
"So it's my duty to help protect the base and this city as best as I can while these men and women are out there protecting our nation."
Rutherford is serving his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives.  He sits on the House Committee on Homeland Security, the House Judiciary Committee, and the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.
Rutherford has strong roots in the Jacksonville community. He attended Florida Junior College and Florida State University where he studied criminology.
He began his career in law enforcement in 1974 as a patrolman in the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Working his way up through law enforcement, Rutherford was later elected as sheriff of Duval County in 2003, 2007 and 2011 for three terms and 12 years.
"I've lived here since 1958 and Mayport has always been near and dear to my heart," said Rutherford.
"And I'm proud to say that this base is a major asset not just to Jacksonville, but also to the security of our nation."
The crew at the fire station treated Rutherford and Capt. David Yoder, commanding officer of NAVSTA Mayport, to an aerial view of the base as they lifted them up to a height of 105 feet in one of the station's ladder trucks.
"I got the best view of the base I've ever had," said Rutherford.
"Even beyond that, coming to the fire station is a special treat for me because I spent so much time in law enforcement, so these are my people and I really enjoy any chance I get to interact with fireman, law enforcement and the Sailors of this base."
Prior to his visit at the fire station, Rutherford also met with the Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson and toured the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21).