Firemen protect Price Hill park goers

Two Cincinnati firefighters who placed themselves between dangerous dogs and park goers were among five firefighters honored for excellence by the Rotary Club of Cincinnati.

The Dec. 2 event at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Hotel recognized firefighters for valor, administrative excellence, community service and self-improvement.

Firefighters Bryan Charles and William Hursong turned animal wranglers in April when they responded along with a medic squad to a call to help someone who had been bitten by pit bulls at Mt. Echo Park in Price Hill.

As medics assisted the victim, Charles and Hursong donned protective gear and went after the dogs. Using gloves and hooks they corralled the dogs that nipped at their pants and boots until police and animal control workers could arrive. The dogs were in a highly populated area, which included a wedding party and a family photo shoot.

At the awards ceremony, front row, Carstell Winston, Chief Michael
Washington, Bryan Charles. Rear, Rotary Club President Steve King of
Montgomery, Brian Doering, William Hursong, Greg Phelia and Rotary program chair
Michael Vilardo of Madisonville.

Charles and Hursong received the valor award for their quick action keeping the public safe, said Fire Chief Michael Washington, who introduced the honorees at the event.

District Chief Carstell Winston received the Administrative Excellence award. He oversees the fire department’s response to more than 80,000 emergency medical services calls annually. Washington said Winston’s work forging partnerships and spearheading new programs has brought national recognition to Cincinnati’s emergency response programs.

Firefighter Brian Doering received the Community Service award. Washington called him a mentor and educator in the paramedic program for Cincinnati as well as neighboring departments, giving hundreds of hours of his personal time to tutor and train.

District Chief Greg Phelia received the Self Improvement award. In his 27 years with the fire department, he has served on fire companies and in administration, most recently in the fire prevention and community risk reduction division. In May he received a Master of Business Administration with a minor in Human Resource Management from Columbia Southern University and he will start his doctoral program next year.

The Rotary Club of Cincinnati initiated the awards to honor excellence in key public service professions, including the Cincinnati Fire Department, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati Police and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. The Rotary Club of Cincinnati was founded in 1910 as a service and networking organization with a mission to provide selfless service in the community. For information, go to

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