Elgin Fire Department honors its own, residents
From an 11-year-old who alerted his family to a fire to firefighters who performed emergency lifesaving procedures on the field, the Elgin Fire Department's awards ceremony on Tuesday evening honored dozens.
This was the first such formal ceremony in at least a decade thanks to the efforts of a newly reorganized committee led by Lt. Dan Wagner, Fire Chief John Fahy said.
The committee sifted through "hundreds, if not thousands" of pages of documents detailing actions by the fire department, which responds to up to 12,000 calls per year, Fahy said. "Many of the honorees went above and beyond their call of duty," he said. "They did that extra thing to make it right."
Several people got the fire chief's citizens award, including Nathan Pagnoni, 11, who acted quickly when he discovered a garage fire and alerted his grandmother.
"I was really scared," Nathan recalled. As for the ceremony, "it was really cool to get up there and take photos with the firemen."
Dawn Stoner of Advocate Sherman Hospital was project manager for a large-scale terrorism training involving 12 fire departments and other agencies at the hospital's Center Street location.
"I think it's wonderful," Stoner said of the ceremony. "What we did together benefits everybody."
Father-and-son duo Don Michael Bush and Michael Sean Bush were honored for helping extinguish a kitchen fire in a home across the street and assisting the affected family with a fundraiser.
Nurse Angela Flintz helped use automated external defibrillator pads on a man who lost consciousness during an Elgin Township Triad meeting both were attending. Andrew J. Robinson helped extinguish a fire with a garden hose, while Burlington Coat Factory employees Nohemi C. Farfan and Jasmine Becerra swiftly responded to a fire in a store clothing rack.
Several firefighters were honored with the department's first Phoenix awards for helping save the lives of patients who were in full cardiorespiratory arrest.
One team took care of a man who had overdosed on heroin while another team helped a man who stopped breathing at a nursing home, Assistant Fire Dave Schmidt said.
Company awards were given to a team that performed an emergency cricothyrotomy -- or surgically opening the throat to insert a breathing tube -- on a gunshot victim, and another to firefighters who saved the life of an infant who was choking.
Two Meijer grocery store employees who couldn't attend the ceremony, Joseph A. Kearns and Sean R. Markwood, were honored for performing CPR and using an automated external defibrillator on someone who went into cardiac arrest.
"They cared enough that day to save a human life," Wagner said.
The department's active shooter committee and its strategic planning committee got unit citations. Also recognized were 28 department members -- out of 133 total -- who served in the U.S. military.
"I think it's great, I really do," said firefighter Ben Rinenbach, who served in the Army. "A lot of guys will just say, 'We're just doing our job.' I think everybody in this room would agree with that. But like anybody else, an 'atta boy' is always nice."