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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Knights of Columbus honors local Public Safety employees



Knights of Columbus Council 2577 held its 17th annual Public Safety Awards and Recognition event Jan. 26 to honor local firefighters and police officers.
In addition to the award recipients receiving plaques from the Knights of Columbus, they were also recognized by the state, county and city for their actions.

In attendance to help honor the awardees were Bowie Mayor Pro-tem Diane Polangin, state Sen. Doug Peters, Delegate Geraldine Valentino-Smith, Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor, Bowie Police Chief John Nesky and Bowie Volunteer Fire Department President Jon Bigony.

Bowie Volunteer Fire Department Volunteer of the Year EMT Jeffrey Nigro: Nigro joined the Bowie Fire Department in 2003 as an auxiliary member. He participates in the County’s Risk Watch program which brings fire safety information to physically and intellectually challenged children and the staff at various facilities across the county. Nigro plans and manages the Bowie Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad’s two major fund-raising events, the mail fund drive in the fall and the photo fund drive in the spring. Without his dedication and commitment to these activities, it would be impossible for the department to operate at its current level of service.
Bowie Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad Firefighters of the Year, James “JR” Bigony and Joseph “Patrick” Ivey: May 12, 2012, ambulance 819 (Old Bowie) and other units from the area responded to the 8700 block of Beaver Dam Road for the report of an injured person. Upon arrival, the crew of ambulance 819, Bigony and Ivey, found a man who was pinned beneath a vehicle he had been working on when it fell off a jack. With responding fire apparatus still a ways from the scene, Bigony and Ivey needed to act quickly to save the victim’s life. Without the assistance of hydraulic equipment to assist them, Bigony and Ivey were able to lift the vehicle enough so that a third person could pull the victim from beneath the vehicle. The victim was transported to a local trauma center via paramedic unit.
Prince George’s County Firefighter/Medic of the Year, Amy Lynn Gunn: Firefighter/Medic Gunn is a nationally and State Certified Advanced Life Support provider, field training coach and mentor for County Paramedic Interns and a Paramedic Preceptor for visiting paramedic students. She is also a member of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department Quality Assurance Medical Review Committee. In her off duty time Gunn is a CPR instructor, paramedic instructor at Prince George’s Community College and the clinical EMS liaison between the community college and the Fire/EMS Department. Gunn, who is a 10-year veteran, is known by her co-workers for her professionalism and excellence in the field. Regardless of the situation, Gunn’s positive can-do attitude is contagious and often has a positive effect during the most stressful situations. She has distinguished herself as a leader, role model and outstanding paramedic, thus contributing to the overall success of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department.
Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department Civilian Employee of the Year, William Hawkins: Hawkins, who has been in the fire service in Prince George’s County for 38 years, is the aide to the fire chief. March 15, 2012, Hawkins was driving in his issued fire department vehicle on Route 50 approaching the Capital Beltway when he observed a pickup truck weaving across all lanes of traffic. The truck exited onto the Capital Beltway heading southbound. Hawkins notified his dispatcher and requested the assistance of police to stop the vehicle. In an effort to keep other vehicles away from the truck, Hawkins activated his emergency equipment and followed the truck at a distance. As they traveled on the beltway, Hawkins and the truck passed 20-30 police cars that were positioned awaiting the motorcade of President Barack Obama who was on his way to speak at Prince George’s Community College. Hawkins continued to keep his dispatcher updated as the vehicle continued to veer across lanes of traffic on the beltway as they were approaching Allentown Road. Hawkins was able to force the vehicle into a curb as they approached the entrance to Andrews Air Force Base. Hawkins ran up to the vehicle and as the driver was attempting to put the vehicle in reverse, Hawkins reached in and removed the keys from the ignition. Upon the arrival of police, Hawkins determined that the 84-year-old driver was suffering from a diabteic emergency. Without concern for his own safety, Hawkins followed the vehicle for approximately 19 miles, keeping other vehicles on the roadway away from the truck and making the decision to safely force the vehicle off the roadway. These actions saved the life of drivers on the road as well as the driver of the truck.

Prince George’s County Police Department Officers of the Year, Cpl. Gregory Raynes and Cpl. Bertram Smith: Aug. 12, 2012, Raynes and Smith observed a blue Chevy Tahoe fail to stop at a stop sign at Woodstream Court and Woodstream Drive. They activated their emergency equipment to affect a traffic stop and the vehicle pulled to the curb. As the vehicle came to a stop, a passenger in the back seat exited the vehicle and fled on foot. The officers kept their attention on the vehicle and the passengers inside. As the officers approached the vehicle, they observed a handgun on the rear seat. After removing the remaining occupants from the vehicle, officers recovered a .380 Bersa Thunder handgun and a .410 Mossburg shotgun. Because of their attention to duty, the officers were able to remove the guns from the streets of Prince George’s County.
City of Bowie Police Officer of the Year, Pvt. 1st Class Harry Booth Jr: March 9, 2012, at approximately 10:55 p.m., Booth was dispatched to respond to the report of a fight at a residence on Jenkins Ridge Road. He was the first officer to arrive on the scene and as he pulled in front of the residence he observed a woman holding a small infant who appeared to be ready to jump from a second-story window. Without hesitation, Booth ran into the residence and to the second-floor bedroom and was able to pull the woman, who was 6 feet 2 inches and 250 pounds, and the baby, back into the room. The female, who was intoxicated, was taken into custody and transported to a local hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. Earlier in the evening the female assaulted her father causing injuries to his head. After assaulting her father the female went into the kitchen and retrieved a knife and told him that if he called the police she would kill him. The female then got into an altercation with her mother at which time the mother was able to take the knife from her daughter. It was at this time the female grabbed her child and ran upstairs in an attempt to jump and kill herself and the child. Due to the quick response and fast actions of Booth, the female and infant were saved from serious and possible fatal injuries.

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