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The original item was published from 9/28/2015 1:04:00 PM to 9/24/2016 12:00:02 AM.

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Posted on: September 25, 2015

[ARCHIVED] Fire Department to present awards at Open House

Each year, at the annual Fire Department Open House, the Sterling Hts. Fire Department recognizes citizens, other city employees and Fire Department employees who, in the last year, have done some exceptional things, over and above what they do each day.

Each year, at the annual Fire Department Open House, the Sterling Heights Fire Department recognizes citizens, other city employees and Fire Department employees who, in the last year, have done some exceptional things, over and above what they do each day. The Sterling Heights Fire Department is able to save many lives each year as well as making a huge difference in the lives of those who are sick or injured and protecting a significant amount of property. We operate as a team and we recognize the importance that the extension of our team, in the form of our residents, Police Officers and Dispatchers has on the outcome of our service. There is just no way we can recognize everyone for what they have done and the following awards represent just a few of those who have helped us deliver the exceptional service we are known for.

The Award Ceremony will take place at noon during the Open House on Sunday October 4, 2015. The Open House takes place at Fire Station #4 on 15 Mile Road, west of Schoenherr, across from Sterling Heights High School, and runs from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Letter from the Fire Chief:
Michael and Jennifer Tucciarone of Macomb Township will receive a Letter from the Fire Chief for taking action while attending a baseball game in June when an elderly man collapsed and went into cardiac arrest. They instantly began CPR on the patient until first responders arrived and took over. Sadly the man did not survive, but he stood the best chance possible due to the help of Michael and Jennifer Tucciarone.

Exceptional Civilian Service Awards:
Susanne Pilath of Traverse City will receive the Exceptional Civilian Service Award for actions she took in April while attending an event at the Carpathia Club when she witnessed a person choking on food. She immediately removed the person from the chair, provided back blows and assisted removing the object that was blocking the victim’s airway. Her quick actions most likely saved this person’s life.

Charles Caree and Martin Oakley, both employees of Kuka Systems witnessed a co-worker collapse and become unresponsive, suffering a cardiac arrest. They both quickly went into action, one beginning CPR and the other retrieving an AED. Together they performed great CPR and delivered two shocks with the AED until first responders arrived. They we able to restore signs of life to their co-worker, however, he sadly succumbed to his injuries.

Randy Matti will receive the Exceptional Civilian Service Award for actions he took in December when he smelled smoke and heard a smoke alarm going off in his condo unit. He located the unit where the problem was, alerted other residents and called 911. His quick actions most likely kept the careless cook incident from becoming a much greater fire.

Fire Department Commendation Awards:
Dispatcher Walter Mueller (Retired) will receive the Fire Department Commendation Award for his help in providing CPR instruction to a resident who found his wife in cardiac arrest. Mr. Mueller’s calm and reassuring demeanor provided the proper direction which allowed the resident to perform quality CPR on his wife until first responders arrived and restored pulse and respirations to the victim.

Police Officer Guy Lynn responded to a report of an unresponsive person in a vehicle. Upon arrival he found the resident behind the wheel of a pick-up, in cardiac arrest. Officer Lynn removed the resident from the vehicle and began providing CPR, continuing to do so until the Fire Department arrived and took over care. Because of his quick actions, the resident survived.

Police Officers James Spence and James Wisniewski responded to a call for a person not breathing. Upon arrival, Officer Wisniewski found the patient in her vehicle, unresponsive and not breathing. He removed her from the car and began CPR. Officer Spence soon arrived and assisted until the Fire Department arrived and took over. Soon after the Fire Department arrived, bystanders began getting emotional and unruly, actually interfering with the treatment of the patient. Officers Spence and Wisniewski restored order to the scene, which allowed the Fire Crews to continue their work and save the life of the victim. This teamwork exemplifies the relationship between the Police and Fire Departments, which results in excellent public safety for our residents.

Fire Chief’s Awards:
Lieutenant Vincent Schwartz will receive the Fire Chief’s Award for his dedication to the department in bringing advanced training to the department in the form of High Performance CPR. Statistics show that our residents stand a greater chance of surviving a cardiac arrest in our city than in most other places in the nation. With the knowledge passed on by Lieutenant Schwartz, we stand to increase those odds, which is one thing we always strive for.
Fire Engine Operator/ Paramedic Jason Myers will receive the Fire Chief’s Award for his initiative in coordinating many events that encourage his co-workers to stay in great physical shape. Jason has been the team captain for the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb the last three years. His efforts push other employees to get themselves in better shape, which makes them better at their job.

Firefighter/Paramedic Tom Smith and Fire Engine Operator/Paramedic Phil Ioco will receive the Fire Chief’s Award for their efforts in creating the Eric Post Memorial that is at Fire Headquarters. Eric Post was a Firefighter/Paramedic with the Fire Department who passed away after a long battle with cancer. Due to the exceptional talent and hard work of Tom and Phil, we have an outstanding memorial to remember Eric by.

Meritorious Unit Citation:
Engine 5, Battalion 3, Lieutenant Shawn Misener, Fire Engine Operator Chris Parmentier (Retired) and Firefighter/Paramedic Mario Contrera responded to an accident in December. Upon arrival they found the accident to be in the City of Troy, but there was a car upside down in a ditch filled with water. The driver was trapped inside the car filling with water. The quick action of the crew to gain entry to the car and remove the victim undoubtedly saved his life.
Engine 1, Battalion 2, Lieutenant Joe Scane, Firefighter/Paramedic Nate Rymill, Firefighter/Paramedic Jonathan Feil and Firefighter/Paramedic Jason Phillips responded to a multiple stabbing in August where they were confronted with a terrible scene with two people struggling to survive. Their quick actions saved the life of one resident, but sadly they could not save the life of the other, despite their actions giving that person the best possible chance to survive.

The crews of Battalion 2, Engine 1, Engine 2, Engine 4, Rescue 1, Truck 1 and Battalion Chief 1, Battalion Chief Ed Miller, Captain/Paramedic Rich Werback, Captain/Paramedic Jeff Duncan, Lieutenant Dominic Ryckeghem, Lieutenant/Paramedic Steve Kohut, Lieutenant Paramedic Mark Wellhausen, FEO/Sergeant Bryan Richter, FEO/Sergeant Tracy Davis, FEO/Sergeant Dave Cueny, FEO/Paramedic Phil Ioco, Firefighter/Paramedic Brad Bachor, Firefighter/Paramedic Stephen Stover, Firefighter/Paramedic Justin Emerson and Firefighter/Paramedic Craig Ballard responded to a serious injury accident this past summer. The crews were confronted with a very difficult scene with two critically injured patients trapped in their vehicles. The entrapments were severe and required significant extrication that challenged all the responders. They were able to save one life, but despite their best efforts, they were unable to save the other life.

Medal of Valor:
Lieutenant/Paramedic Shawn Misener will receive the Medal of Valor for the actions he took in December when he responded with Engine 5 to a vehicle accident. Upon arrival, they were confronted with a car upside down in a ditch with an unresponsive occupant trapped and the car filling with water. Without any concern for his own safety and with only moments to spare, Lieutenant Misener, with the help of the crew of Engine 5, broke out the rear window of the car and made entry into the vehicle. He was able to free the victim and extricate him out of the vehicle to the other members of his crew. It is because of his quick actions that the victim survived the incident and made a full recovery.

Firefighter of the Year:
This year, the Sterling Heights Fire Department is honored to award Assistant Chief Rob Duke with the Firefighter of the Year Award. This past year, after taking over as Assistant Chief, Rob Duke has worked tirelessly on many projects which include the Consolidated Dispatch Center and preparing and managing the Assistance to Firefighter Grants. This was all during a time when the Fire Department was experiencing an exceptional amount of turnover, requiring many new promotions and the hiring of new employees. The leadership and hard work from Chief Duke is one of the reasons this turnover was managed so successfully.

For more information, please contact Fire Chief Chris Martin at 586-446-2951 or via e-mail at

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