By Chris BLUME
Last Wednesday, the Glendale Fire Department and the Glendale Sunrise Rotary Club presented the annual Fire Department Awards Luncheon at the Glendale Hilton. A multitude of fire fighters, paramedics, Rotary Club members, community sponsors and supporters were on hand.
After a full dress flag ceremony and an invocation to commemorate fallen fire fighters, lunch was served while a video showed clips from recent events, including the Freeway Fire and the Station Fire with shots of helicopters dropping fire suppressant on flames that appeared to be a hundred feet high. After lunch, Glendale Councilman Dave Weaver gave a speech extolling the value of the fire department.
Letters of appreciation were presented to members of local supportive agencies such as Steve and Donna Yeager of Calox Inc., a medical supply company. The fire chief’s commendations were given both to civilian and fire personnel. Stephanie Osipov received an award for her quick actions which saved the life of a stranger when, after hearing gunfire, she rushed to an unsecured scene to administer first aid until emergency personnel arrived.
Firefighter John Washington, Fire Cadet Tim Chow and Fire Communications Operator Sean O’Connor were awarded a commendation for pulling two fellow firefighters from a burning building. They accepted their awards to a thundering standing ovation.
Other recognized fire fighters for service to the community included Distinguished Service awardee Dan Encinas for his role as a CPR instructor, his involvement in Search and Rescue, and for his efforts to protect a dispatch center from potential power failure.
Young students were also awarded for winning an essay contest. The three students, Jr. Fire Chief Mahta Marefat, Jr. Deputy Fire Chief Arden Gonta, and Jr. Assistant Fire Chief Savannah Baum, all wrote winning essays on household fire safety.
The Glendale Sunrise Rotary Club presented the Service Above Self Award to local businessperson Betty Porto of Porto’s Bakery for her work with several community organizations including New Horizons for Youth, Glendale Healthy Kids, and the Glendale Relay for Life.
After the awards ceremony, fallen firefighters Tedmund Hall and Arnaldo Quinones, who lost their lives battling the recent Station Fire, were commemorated.