12-6-2017 – Our First Responder News Blog Debut

This is the debut post of Recognition Photo Displays’ First Responder News Blog.  The First Responder News blog is our way of drawing attention to the hard work, dedication, and courage that our nation’s emergency response personnel demonstrate on a daily basis.  

First Responder News will be a recurring series on the Recognition Photo Displays’ Blog Page.  In order to help shed the proper light on the noble actions of our emergency responders, we’ll be paying close attention to what fire and police departments, paramedics, and EMTs accomplish on a daily basis.  

You can think of this series as an attempt to highlight a small sampling of first responder achievements.  Unfortunately, the accomplishments of these organizations are far too numerous for any single person or group to track properly.  That’s why we need and encourage your help!  

If you have any suggestions regarding stories we should mention in these pages, please use our Contact Page to notify us immediately or email our blogging staff directly at kirk@recognitionphotodisplays.com.

Now, without any further ado, let’s have a quick look at a few first responder awards that fire and police departments have presented for valorous action and ingenuity recently.

Firefighter of the Year Awards in Worcester, Massachusetts

November 21, 2017. Governor Charlie Baker and Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey were in attendance when firefighters from  22 departments from across Massachusetts were honored at the 28th Annual Firefighter of the Year Awards in Worcester.  There were several noteworthy awards presented, but members of one department in the western part of the state received special recognition.  

On January 1, 2017, members of the Holyoke Fire Department sped to the scene of a deadly apartment fire near downtown.  While the rest of the community was celebrating the start of the New Year with friends and family, these courageous civil servants went directly into the mouth of the fire, saving dozens of lives while the blaze ravaged the building all around them.  

Although the entire department deserves credit, firefighters Daniel Spafford and Anthony Deroy and Lieutenant Philip Kraus each received Medals of Valor for their bravery, as well as a standing ovation.  Firefighters James Tourigny and Lawrence Jackson, Jr. also received special recognition for their conduct during this huge fire, as did Captain James Cadigan and Deputy Chief David O’Connor.

Recent Police Officer Awards

On October 22, 2017, the International Association of Chiefs of Police presented their coveted Police Officer of The Year Awards at the 11th Annual IACP Foundation Gala in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The criteria for these awards include everything from acts of bravery and outstanding investigative work to crime prevention programs, with police departments from all over the country eligible to nominate one of their officers.

This year, seven brave men and women were honored:

  • Lieutenant Scott Smith of the Orlando, Florida Police Department.  Lieutenant Smith was recognized for his unparalleled leadership in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando on June 12, 2016.  
  • Special Agents Crystal Griner and David Bailey of the United States Capitol Police in Washington, D.C.  Agents Griner and Bailey were both serving on Representative Steve Scalise’s protective detail when he was critically wounded by a gunman during a charity baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia.  Both agents sustained gunshot wounds when they stepped directly into the line of fire.  Fortunately, they have since recovered and were on hand to receive this much deserved recognition from fellow officers all over the country.  
  • Officers Nicole Battaglia, Alexander Jensen, and Kevin Jobe of the Alexandria, Virginia Police Department.  These three officers were honored for the intelligent police work and brave actions they demonstrated in response to the Scalise shooting.  This shooting was a tragic and frightening event, but without the actions of these officers, there’s no telling how much worse it could have been.

Recognition Photo Displays would like to join the IACP and the rest of the nation in expressing our gratitude for the actions of  these fine officers.  

First Responder Awards are Simply the Highlights of Everyday Heroism

We should all be very grateful for the brave actions that these police officers and firefighters performed to receive these hard earned awards.  That’s one of the reasons we’re trying to draw attention to them in the pages of our blog– to increase public awareness of the sacrifices first responders make to protect our communities.

But there is another purpose as well, one that’s just as important as garnering attention for these remarkable acts.  This second purpose is to draw attention to the daily, so-called ‘smaller’ acts of heroism that our first responders perform on an almost hourly basis.  

Acts of heroism do not happen in a vacuum– they’re the outgrowth of a nested system of processes, people, and deep commitments.  We believe that this is the fundamental truth behind what first responders mean when they say something like ‘we’re just doing our jobs.’