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Press Releases / 2004 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MAY 17, 2004


First EMS Medal Day ceremony held in five years honors 40 members
for meritorious acts in 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2003

Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today honored 40 New York City Fire Department Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s) at a medal ceremony held in the Metrotech Commons outside of Fire Department headquarters in Brooklyn.

Today’s medal recipients were cited for their life-saving work at fires, car accidents, structural collapses and other emergencies. The stories recounted incidents of highly effective patient care in some of the most unusual or difficult circumstances in which members often went above and beyond the normal actions of EMS.

"As we celebrate these acts of heroism, we must not forget that these singular achievements were in fact a team effort," said Commissioner Scoppetta. "Behind every one of these saves was a partner…a dispatcher…a call-receiving operator…a supervisor…the entire chain of command…doing their job. You all deserve much credit and recognition."

The medal ceremony, the first for New York City’s Paramedics and EMT’s since 1999, recognized meritorious actions that occurred during calendar years 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2003. The following are some highlights from today’s ceremony:

For 1999, the top honor, the Christopher J. Prescott Medal was awarded to EMT David Karic and EMT Daniel E. Stewart. After hearing cries for help from a burning building on Pilling Street in Brooklyn, the two rookie members, each with only nine months on the job, entered the smoke filled premises without the protection of a mask, bunker gear or hose line. Pushing through the thick smoke and heat the team rescued two victims before the arrival of firefighters. The medal was awarded posthumously to EMT Stewart. His father accepted on his behalf.

The Christopher J. Prescott Medal for 2000 was awarded to EMT Gamaliel Bonilla. While driving to work on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway EMT Bonilla witnessed a single car accident in which the vehicle had rolled over several times and then burst into flames. EMT Bonilla, without regard for his own safety, immediately forced the driver’s side door open. He then crawled into the burning vehicle and removed the unconscious 17-year old driver, stabilizing his injuries until the ambulance arrived.

The Christopher J. Prescott Medal for 2002 was awarded to EMT John Manning. After seeing smoke and then witnessing the occupants of a three story home calling for help from the top floor window, John Manning raced inside and began banging on doors and yelling for the occupants to get out as he made his way into the smoke-filled building. Climbing up to the third floor apartment on his hands and knees, Manning located four trapped teenagers. Instructing them to crawl on their hands and knees, he led all four out of the building to safety.

The Christopher J. Prescott Medal for 2003 was awarded to EMT Ronald G. Grubert and EMT David T. Weissman. The pair responded to a report of a deck collapse with 20 injuries. Upon arrival, Grubert and Weissman assessed the incident, requested additional resources and began to treat the victims while fire rescue companies stabilized the collapsed deck. The team crawled under the debris and immobilized and extricated the two most seriously injured including a woman who was pinned beneath the debris with a partially amputated foot.

In addition to top medals The Christopher J. Prescott Medal and The Tracy Allen-Lee Medal, which are both endowed by the EMTs and Paramedics Union Local 2507, five other medals were presented. The Chief James Scullion Medal, which is endowed by the Superior Officers Association, The Lieutenant Kirby McElhern Medal, which has been endowed by the Lieutenants and Captions union Local 3621 and The Jack Pintchik Medal, which has been endowed by the Pintchik family since 1984. In addition two commendations were issued: the Medical Affairs Commendation and the Emergency Medical Dispatch Commendation.

Contact: Francis X. Gribbon / David Billig (FDNY) (718) 999-2056

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