A Cincinnati firefighter who helped pull a teen from a burning apartment building was among six honored by the Rotary Club of Cincinnati.
The annual Rotary Awards honor members of the Cincinnati Fire Department for valor, community service, administration and self-improvement. At the ceremony, the Rotary Foundation of Cincinnati also presented $1,000 to the Cincinnati Fire Foundation.
Fire Chief Roy Winston introduced the honorees:
Hero/Valor Award: Fire Apparatus Operator Stephen Dengler. On Aug. 26, members of Heavy Rescue 14 responded to a fire in Mt. Auburn, with someone trapped inside. Dengler remained outside a blazing window to monitor the fire and the position of two men inside. Responding to a request for a hose to deal with heavy fire, Dengler retrieved a hose and followed the line inside, searching two bedrooms and finding a 14-year-old girl in a bathroom tub. He pulled her out, called for assistance and got the teen out of the building safely.
Community Service Award: Lt. John Davis and Lt. Edward Wallace. Davis was approached at the last minute about representing the fire department in the Cincinnati Recreation Commission’s Cincy Swish basketball program. The program provides life lessons and character-building for local high school boys. Davis recruited Wallace and other firefighters to help coach.
Self Improvement Award: Lt. Justin Peter. As the Cincinnati Fire Museum’s historian/archivist, Peter has dedicated numerous hours to researching the history of the department. He has discovered line-of-duty deaths that previously were undocumented. His work has been shared with the International Association of Firefighters’ Memorial in Washington. Peter also maintains the department’s History Blog, documenting photos and stories of recent and past events.
Administrative Award: District Chief Daniel Merz and Lt. Joseph Arnold. The two were members of the Daryl Gordon Line of Duty Death Committee, a group that worked for over a year to develop the internal Line of Duty Death report. Both men helped develop recommendations to reduce the risk of injuries and possible death of other firefighters. They also helped develop a three-hour PowerPoint presentation they delivered to 420 firefighters, often on their own time.
The club initiated the awards more than a decade ago to honor excellence in key public service professions. The awards honor members of the Cincinnati Police in April, Cincinnati teachers in June, members of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office in August and the Cincinnati Fire Department in October.