Two Cincinnati firefighters who risked their lives to pull a woman from a burning building were among five honored for excellence by the Rotary Club of Cincinnati. The event recognized firefighters for valor, administrative excellence, community service and self-improvement.
Assistant Fire Chief Mark Sanders introduced the honorees. Lieutenant Jeff Neal of Harrison and firefighter Chad Duccilli of Miami Township received the Valor Award for their heroic rescue effort at a house fire in North Fairmount in March 2021.
“Neal and Duccilli entered the structure ahead of the hose line in high heat and zero visibility conditions,” Sanders said. “They found a large unconscious woman who had hidden in a closet and worked tirelessly to move her to the stairs where fellow firefighters could remove her from the building.”
Captain Kevin Uhl of Sycamore Township received the Administrative Award, recognizing his determination and problem-solving ability that led to the creation of the department’s Emergency Mountain Bike Unit – a unique solution to meeting emergency needs during downtown events that pack the streets with vehicles and pedestrians.
Uhl formed the unit, arranged training, implemented physical standards and developed policies and procedures and secured private funding for bikes and equipment.
Specialist Jason Stelter of Anderson Township received the Community Service Award, recognizing his longstanding volunteer work at the Cincinnati Fire Museum, where he is a board member and acts as curator of fire department memorabilia and helps direct and plan activities.
Lieutenant Joseph Arnold of Florence received the Self-Improvement Award, recognizing his passion for training and skill building, for himself and for generations of firefighters.
“Arnold is a 32-year veteran of the Fire Department, assigned to the Fire Training Bureau where he makes a direct impact on fire recruits as they begin their careers,” said Sanders, “The number of lives he’s saved by his training is absolutely amazing. He continually thinks outside the box and leads by example.”