Firefighter, three cops honored for water rescue
A firefighter and three police officers have been honored for saving a woman from drowning in McKelvey Lake; and five retired firefighters have been recognized for their decades of service to the city.
The occasion was the Youngstown Professional Firefighters Local 312’s 27th annual retirement and awards dinner Friday at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church Social Hall.
“I’ve always been amazed at the unique camaraderie and traditions that you have,” Mayor John A. McNally told the audience, which consisted of firefighters from all over Ohio.
“In a career like firefighting, I have come to realize this is your way of creating the highest degree of teamwork,” the mayor said.
“Maybe, more importantly, it’s your way of coping with the tremendous amount of stress associated with your occupation,” McNally added.
“We’re brothers in this service,” said Fire Chief John J. O’Neill Jr. “When you get people that do such a tough job and get them together one night, it really means a lot to everybody,” the chief said of the significance of the annual recognition dinner.
The mayor said 2014 will be “a very exciting year” for the fire department, with the ribbon to be cut in early March at the new $920,000 Fire Station 9 on Midlothian Boulevard and the city taking delivery of a new Ladder Truck 24 soon thereafter.
The new ladder truck, which will be delivered in mid-March and based at the Indianola Avenue station, costs just under $900,000.
For the McKelvey Lake rescue, Firefighter Tommy J. Gibbs Jr. received the lifesaving award; and Sgt. James Pasquale and officers Edward Colon and Marcin Stachowicz of the city police department received the valor award.
The police pulled to shore a woman who had jumped off the Jacobs Road bridge into the lake at about 8 a.m. Oct. 5, 2013, and Gibbs performed CPR and basic life support measures on the woman until an ambulance arrived.
The mayor told the audience he is “proud of each of you, who selflessly and tirelessly dedicate yourselves to protect all of us.”
Also honored at the dinner were five city fire department officers who retired last year.
The retirees are Capt. David Leetch, 28 years of service; and four lieutenants: David Cisine, 41 years; John Marks, 33 years; Kevin Winebold, 31 years; and Marty Lipinsky, 28 years.
The program also featured a fire department honor guard ceremony accompanied by a bagpiper.