On April 12, 2012, a private bus left Fremont filled with people anticipating a getaway tour of New York City. Headed east on the Ohio Turnpike and just outside South Amherst, Ohio, the bus driver collided with a vehicle that was part of an existing multiple vehicle accident. Subsequently, the bus was hit by another vehicle, the windshield of the bus was knocked out, leaving the bus driver trapped in the wreckage and knocked unconscious. Moreover, the steering mechanism on the bus was sheared upon impact, making steering impossible.
A.J. Green and another passenger immediately made their way to the front of the bus and attempted to recover control of the bus as others tended to the driver. While Green tried to stop the bus or steer it to safety, the bus continued out of control for approximately one mile until it finally stopped. The engine, however, was still running and revving leaving the passengers in danger. The dark road and the rain made visibility very poor. Several semi-trailer trucks were whizzing by the bus. It was apparent that no emergency personnel could get to the bus in a timely manner, so Green and the passenger assisting him took it upon themselves to stop the engine.
When it was deemed safe, Green led the group of passengers approximately a quarter mile down the road to the safety of a plaza on the turnpike. The Amherst Fire Department arrived on scene and crews checked on the passengers at the plaza and worked relentlessly to free the driver from the bus wreckage.
After the incident, Green organized a bus safety training day with police, fire and EMS. Professional mechanics were brought in to show the emergency professionals how to handle several types of buses in case of emergency. Green saved the lives of the bus passengers and turned a negative incident into a positive learning experience for others.
~ Nominated by Barbara L. Aldrich, Trip Participant
Joseph Camerato, Lieutenant
Jared Davis, Firefighter/Paramedic
Rachel Doran, Firefighter
Jason Hart, Firefighter/Paramedic
Christopher Mrkva, Firefighter
Claudia Rodriguez, Firefighter/Paramedic
Robert Thomas, Firefighter
On March 7, 2012, Engine Company 6 and Life Squad 2 were dispatched to assist the Toledo Police Department with a motor vehicle/pedestrian accident. A male victim was run over by his girlfriend and the victim was wedged underneath the vehicle. The victim appeared to be lifeless, with his neck bent at a 90 degree angle and no pulse or visible breathing.
Crews attempted to pull the victim from under the vehicle unsuccessfully. The responders continued to search for signs of life as Lieutenant Joseph Camerato called for a truck for extraction/body recovery to lift the vehicle off of the victim. Instead of waiting for the truck to arrive, newer members of the squad approached the problem with a fresh perspective. As the victim's friends and family stood just a few yards away, Firefighter Rachel Doran asked "Why can't we just lift the car off him? There are all of us and the police, we have to do something."
Everyone, including his family, believed the victim to be dead so they saw no harm in making one last attempt at saving his life. They were able to lift the car just high enough to be able to pull the victim from under the car. At this point, the victim still appeared to be lifeless until Firefighter/Paramedic Jared Davis felt a faint heart beat.
The crew jumped into action, secured the victim on a backboard and transported him to a hospital. The victim survived his injuries thanks to the determination of Doran and the team to not quit.
~ Nominated by the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department Medal Ceremony Committee
Fostoria Fire Chief Keith Loreno's commitment to safety prevention in the community has spanned nearly three decades. He began his career as a Firefighter/EMT in 1982 with the Perkins Township Fire Department. He went on to serve as a corrections officer, deputy sheriff, owner of an ambulance service, Arson Investigator and Assistant Chief of the Fire and Explosion Investigation Bureau with the State Fire Marshal's office.
Though the service and commitment he has given through his paid offices speaks volumes, his volunteer commitment is even more impressive. Always the first to volunteer his time, Chief Loreno is a superb example of dedication, leadership and creativity in the safety forces field. As a trustee on the United Way Board of Fostoria, Chief Loreno dedicated many hours of his time ensuring all of the agencies requesting funds received them despite the difficulty raising the funds in a recession.
Chief Loreno organizes an annual coats for kids campaign and a smoke detector giveaway program. He runs the Safety Town program for preschoolers and coordinates a mock crash event to teach the dangers of drinking and driving to teenagers. He spends countless hours visiting local schools to teach students fire prevention and donates his time working with the schools to ensure the schools are a safe place for the students, including the Safe School Initiative. He even volunteered to redesign the city's website in his off time.
According to those who work with him, being extraordinary comes naturally to Chief Loreno. He is described as "genuine, hard working and dedicated to his craft and the people of his community." Chief Loreno's endless dedication to his community makes him a worthy candidate for the Outstanding Service to the Community Award.
~ Nominated by Allyson Murray, Safety Service Director, City of Fostoria
John Farley served the Richfield Township Fire Department throughout the past ten years as a dispatcher, Association Secretary and Treasurer. Though these tasks alone are admirable in the sense of community spirit and services, what makes this even more extraordinary is that Farley is completely blind. Born almost blind, he lost what little vision he did have in one eye in an accident when he was just a young man.
Farley was hired to a full-time position several years ago where he excelled in the many areas of his job description. His work ethic, attention to detail and commitment to our community was evident. The level of professionalism and service to our community that he displayed humbled those who worked with Farley.
Due to some changes in the dispatching system, Farley's paid position was eliminated. Despite that change, he remains a big part of the operations of Richfield Township as a volunteer primarily with communications support.
He also remains the Association Treasurer.
Farley exemplifies the true community spirit through his tremendous contributions to the community and the region. He is generous, courageous and has overcome obstacles to give back to his fellow man by serving others.
~ Nominated by Ronald L. Tate, Fire Chief, Richfield Township Fire Department
In tribute to and appreciation for the memory, life and heroism of Detective Keith Dressel, the Owens Community College Alumni Association established the Detective Keith Dressel Memorial Endowment Scholarship in 2007.
The Scholarship is awarded annually to an Owens student who has the courage to become a police officer and embodies the passion, conviction and perseverance demonstrated by Detective Dressel during his career.
The Owens Community College Alumni Association is pleased to award the Detective Keith Dressel Memorial Scholarship to Taylor Beck.
Taylor Beck has that passion and conviction. Beck is a full-time Owens student, having enrolled as a criminal justice major in Fall 2012 after graduating from Genoa High School.
Beck says that she has wanted to become a police officer "for as long as I can remember." She wants to change her community and to make a difference, encouraging kids to find better ways to spend their time and to become successful members of society. Beck draws inspiration from Albert Schweitzer who said, "Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful." This is the base of the success she has pursued not only in her academic career, but also in life.
For several years, Beck has actively worked to be a positive influence in her community. She is determined to see change, to seek peace and to serve people. She helped organize a fundraiser for a sister's friend who was stricken with stage two breast cancer, raising more than $5,000 to assist with medical bills. She started a drive in her church to assemble and send care packages to military men and women deployed overseas in Kuwait. She also led an initiative to decorate a "mitten tree" at her church where people could hang mittens, gloves, hats and more on the tree like ornaments. All were donated to the Cherry Street Mission in Toledo.
Following graduation from Owens, Beck plans to pursue her bachelor's degree in criminal justice and eventually her master's degree.
"Being a police officer is honorable. My ultimate aspiration is to become one of those women in uniform with the privilege of protecting the people of my community," said Beck.