Owens Community College Alumni Association honors local Safety Forces with Outstanding Service Awards
Ten area residents have been chosen to receive the 10th annual Outstanding Service Awards by Owens Community College’s Alumni Association for tremendous contributions to Northwest Ohio’s surrounding communities. The recipients are honored as part of a community celebration.
Award winners are: A.J. Green, Joseph Camerato, Jared Davis, Rachel Doran, Jason Hart, Christopher Mrkva, Claudia Rodríguez, Robert Thomas, Keith Loreno, and John Farley.
“Owens Community College’s Alumni Association is proud to once again recognize the humanitarian efforts of Northwest Ohio’s safety forces,” said Matt Feasel, Owens President of the Alumni Association. “Many of their selfless acts of public service go unnoticed as they do not seek out attention. The Outstanding Service Awards were created to honor their efforts and thank them for their continued service to our region, state and country.”
The awards are presented within the categories of Outstanding Firefighter, Emergency Medical Technician, Service to Community, and Community Spirit. Selection criterion is based upon a nomination process for candidates demonstrating exceptional service related to dedication, ingenuity, bravery, special skills and/or community service over a sustained period of time. The awards are not limited to a single recipient and can be a group honor where teamwork was a key element.
The recipient of the Outstanding Firefighter Award is A.J. Green of Gibsonburg (Firefighter, Lindsey Volunteer Fire Department). Green was nominated by Barbara Aldrich for putting his life at risk to save the lives of fellow bus passengers during a multiple vehicle accident.
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, the bus collided with a vehicle that was part of an existing multiple vehicle accident. Subsequently, the bus was hit by another vehicle and the windshield of the bus was knocked out, leaving the bus driver trapped in the wreckage and knocked unconscious. Additionally, the steering mechanism on the bus was sheared upon impact, making steering impossible.
Green and another passenger immediately made their way to the front of the bus and attempted to recover control of the vehicle while others tended to the driver. While Green tried to stop the bus or steer it to safety, it continued out of control for approximately a mile until finally stopped. The engine, however, was still running and revving leaving the passengers in danger. Green and the other passenger took it upon themselves to stop the engine. When it was deemed safe, Green led the group of passengers to the safety of a turnpike plaza.
After the incident, Green organized a bus safety training day with emergency professionals on how to handle several types of buses in emergency situations. Green saved the lives of the bus passengers and turned a negative incident into a positive learning experience for others.
Joseph Camerato of Port Clinton (Lieutenant, Toledo Fire and Rescue Department), Jared Davis of Sylvania (Firefighter/Paramedic, Toledo Fire and Rescue Department), Rachel Doran of Toledo (Firefighter, Toledo Fire and Rescue Department), Jason Hart of Toledo (Firefighter/Paramedic, Toledo Fire and Rescue Department), Christopher Mrkva of Lambertville, Mich. (Firefighter, Toledo Fire and Rescue Department), Claudia Rodriguez of Millbury (Firefighter/Paramedic, Toledo Fire and Rescue Department) and Robert Thomas of Toledo (Firefighter, Toledo Fire and Rescue Department) are named the Outstanding Emergency Medical Technician Award recipients. They were nominated by Toledo Fire and Rescue Department Medal Ceremony Committee for their outstanding efforts in saving the life of another person.
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 no pulse or visible breathing.
Crews attempted to pull the victim from under the vehicle unsuccessfully and responders continued to search for signs of life as Camerato called for a truck for extraction/body recovery to lift the vehicle off the victim. Instead of waiting for the truck to arrive, squad members, led by Doran, made the decision to lift the vehicle by themselves off the victim in one last attempt at saving his life. The group was able to lift the car high enough to pull the victim from his location. A faint heart beat was found and the victim was transported to a hospital. The victim survived the injuries thanks to the determination of the team and their heroic efforts.
Keith Loreno of Gibsonburg (Fire Chief, Fostoria Fire Department) is the recipient of the Outstanding Service to the Community Award. Loreno was nominated by Fostoria Safety Service Director Allyson Murray for his endless dedication and leadership to his community and the safety forces field.
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 and went on to serve in such positions as a Corrections Officer, Deputy Sheriff and an Assistant Chief of the Fire and Explosion Investigation Bureau with the State Fire Marshall’s Office.
Additionally, Loreno is one of the first to volunteer his time to various community outreach initiatives, which includes serving as Board Trustee for the United Way of Fostoria. He also organizes an annual “coats for kids” campaign, a smoke detector giveaway program, a safety town program for preschool students and a mock crash event to teach the dangers of drinking and driving to teenage students, as well as devoting countless hours to teaching students about fire prevention.
John Farley of Berkey (Communications Support Volunteer, Richfield Township Fire Department) is named the Community Spirit Award recipient. Farley was nominated by Richfield Township Fire Department Fire Chief Ronald Tate for exemplifying community spirit through his tremendous contributions to the community and the region.
Farley has served the Richfield Township Fire Department throughout the past 10 years as a Dispatcher, Association Secretary and Association Treasurer. Farley, who is blind, was hired to a full-time position several years ago and excelled in the many areas of his job description. His work ethic, attention to detail and commitment and service to the community humbled his fellow colleagues.
Due to some changes in the dispatching system, Farley’s paid position was eliminated. Despite that change, he continues to play an integral role in the Richfield Township Fire Department’s operations as a volunteer, primarily through communications support. He is described as generous and courageous by the community and is dedicated to giving back through community service.