Their lives on the line: Washington County first responders recognized for achievements

2022-06-15 21:56:40 By : Ms. Valley Yin

In an interview following a ceremony last week honoring first responders for their recent achievements, Hagerstown Police Chief Paul Kifer noted that “our guys put their lives on the line."

“It’s amazing, the mentality of people that get into the public service profession and put themselves in harm’s way to do what’s right for other human beings,” he said Thursday, June 9. “I’m proud to work here, and I”m proud to work with all these people who are here in this room.”

Just hours later, Maryland State Police Detective Sgt. Phillip Martin was wounded in a shootout with a man charged with killing three coworkers and wounding a fourth at Columbia Machine in Smithsburg. Joe Louis Esquivel, 23, of Hedgesville, W.Va., is also charged with driving his car into state police Lt. Vincent Upole’s SUV, according to Washington County District Court records.

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But also, two days earlier, Gerald Wayne Koogle Jr. was charged with shooting from a window in his mobile home at Washington County Sheriff’s Office Deputy 1st. Class Phillip Schnurr, Deputy Tyler Repp and Master Deputy Kyle Snodderly, according to court records.

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The sixth annual Public Safety Awards ceremony sponsored by the Washington County Chamber of Commerce recognized other law enforcement officers as well as firefighters, fire marshals and emergency medical services personnel for their efforts.

“You do this without wanting recognition,” Chamber President and CEO Paul Frey said. “We appreciate your passion, professionalism, teamwork and service to our community.”

Public Safety Distinguished Service Award — Hagerstown Police Department Detective Anthony Fleegal, who is currently assigned to the Criminal Investigations Unit and is the primary detective responsible for investigating serious crimes against children.

Gold — Hagerstown Police Department Officer Jonathan Zupan, who was dragged by a suspected impaired driver's car and then attacked by the driver after the car crashed into a tree.

Silver — Hagerstown Fire Department Apparatus Operator Tye Porada for pulling two children from a burning Noland Village apartment.

Bronze — Hagerstown Fire Department Apparatus Operator Brian Snyder for his part working with Porada on the rescues from the Noland Village apartment fire and Volunteer Fire Company of Halfway Firefighter Isaiah Neal for his efforts to contain the fire and make the rescues possible.

Fire/EMS Recipients: Recognized for their efforts during a five-vehicle crash including three tractor-trailers on Interstate 81 were Fire Apparatus Operator Zachary Reid and Fire Apparatus Operator Tony Cambardella from Hagerstown Fire Department Engine 1; Fire Apparatus Operator Bob Petrunak, Fire Apparatus Operator Tye Porada, Fire Apparatus Operator Todd Grimes and Fire Apparatus Operator Deron Malcolm from Western Enterprise Fire Co.; Battalion Aide Daniel Myers, Firefighter Aaron Miller, Firefighter Tommy Cleveland and Battalion Chief Adam Hopkins of Hagerstown Fire Department; Fire Apparatus Operator Willie Vazquez, Firefighter Patrick Bryan, Firefighter Chris Black, Deputy Chief Jamie Drawbaugh, Probationary Firefighter Tyler Drawbaugh, Paramedic Deb Scott, Paramedic Donnie Lehman, Emergency Medical Technician Zach Robinson, Emergency Medical Technician Jeff Hardman and Emergency Medical Technician Melissa Murrah of Volunteer Fire Co. of Halfway; Fire Apparatus Operator Kevin Blair, Lieutenant Zachary Webb, Firefighter Hunter Clark and Firefighter Bradley Taylor of Maugansville Goodwill Volunteer Fire Co.; Lieutenant David Olson, Fire Apparatus Operator Trevor Snodderly, Deputy Director David Chisholm, Coordinator Oley Griffith, Operations Manager Eric Jacobs, Emergency Vehicle Specialist Wayne Boward and Emergency Vehicle Specialist Kevin Eichelberger of the Washington County Division of Emergency Services; Recognized for the efforts handling five separate fire incidents with fatalities were Fire Marshal Dale Fishack, Deputy Fire Marshal Deanna Pelton, Deputy Fire Marshal John Crist and Deputy Fire Marshal Scott Wolff of Hagerstown Fire Department; Recognized for their service during the Noland Village apartment fire were Hagerstown Fire Department, Community Rescue Service and Volunteer Fire Co. of Halfway.

Law Enforcement Recipients: Washington County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Ryan Socks, Sgt. Howard Ward and Detective Casey Swope of the Digital Investigation Forensic Unit were recognized for examining electronic devices and investigating internet crimes including child pornography and solicitation of minors; Hagerstown Police Department Sgt. Steven Lucas, Officer Timothy Cramer, Officer Brandon Decker, Officer Michael McDermott, Officer First Class Mark Morris, Officer Tyler Nichols and Officer Celmarie Perez-Velez were recognized for their response to a fatal shooting on North Mulberry Street.

Hero Award — Washington County Sheriff's Office Deputy First Class Mario Angelini and Sgt. Ben Jones were recognized for arresting an assault suspect who had set his house on fire; Washington County Sheriff's Office Master Deputy Charles Keyser and Deputy First Class Christian Koontz, were recognized for providing first aid to a shooting victim; Hagerstown Police Department Officer Tyler Nichols and Officer Brandon Decker were recognized for providing first aid to a shooting victim; Hagerstown Police Department Master Police Officer Duane White and Officer Brandon Decker were recognized for providing first aid to a stabbing victim; Community Rescue Service Captain Justin Ruppenthal, Lt. Bobby Follin, Paramedic Nathan Bowers, Emergency Medical Technician Danny Gibson, Emergency Medical Technician Kurtis Meunier, Emergency Medical Technician Zachary Sipe and Emergency Medical Technician Josie Esler were recognized for their efforts to deliver and treat a baby after its twin was stillborn.

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Mail: First responders recognized for recent outstanding achievements

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