Civilians and first responders recognized for burn heroism at 12th annual Valley Preferred Spirit of Courage Awards celebration
The Harrisburg Bureau of Fire was recognized with the first ever President’s Award for its resolve in overcoming multiple tragedies during the 12th annual Valley Preferred Spirit of Courage Awards Celebration held at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg, Bethlehem, recently.
The event recognized a dozen first responders, their departments and everyday citizens for acts of heroism or commitment to burn education.
The program was started locally by the Burn Prevention Network in partnership with Valley Preferred and Lehigh Valley Health Network to recognize persons who have risked their lives to save others from a burn or death by fire. The program also recognizes individuals and groups who have done an outstanding job promoting fire safety or burn prevention education.
Valley Preferred, a provider-led, preferred provider organization, sponsors the program to raise public awareness about burn safety and to recognize people who put others ahead of themselves.
“The people we are honoring this year – first responders and ordinary citizens – demonstrate incredible bravery and the potential we all have to make a difference,” Valley Preferred Executive Director Mark Wendling, M.D., said. “These heroes exist in every community and Valley Preferred is proud to be part of something that recognizes that.”
Burn Prevention Network Executive Director Dan Dillard said this event brings together first responders, health care professionals, life-safety educators and others to solve difficult and costly community challenges. It helps fund specialized training for firefighters, support programs for burn survivors and training for nearly 800,000 children every year in fire safety and burn prevention practices. “We are guided by our vision of working with partners and communities to create a world without burns,” he said.
Honorees recognized at the event include:
•Rick Cruz, Jennifer Dixon, Mavis Dixon, Aaron Young (all civilians), Middletown, Pa. and Sgt. Daniel Tingle. Lower Swatara Police Department
•Michael Surrell (civilian), Allentown
•Capt. Douglas Nothstein, Lehighton Fire Department and Lt. Justin Smith, Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Company
•Lt. Dennis DeVoe, Firefighter Nathan Martin, Harrisburg Bureau of Fire, Squad 8
•The President’s Award: Harrisburg Bureau of Fire
•The Phoenix Award: Santo Piccolomini, Uniontown, Pa.
The Burn Prevention Network is a nonprofit regional organization providing burn prevention and fire safety education programs to especially vulnerable populations.
The network’s primary service region spans 22 counties of eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey.
Through outsourcing agreements, network programs also reach into southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. Network programs benefit 800,000 individuals every year.
Programs and services include: curriculum-based school programs for preschool and kindergarten through eighth grade; Home Safe Home program for caregivers of infants and toddlers; Safety Lines Network for caregivers of preschool children; specialized population programs such as Youth Fire Misuse Intervention; burn survivor support activities including Camp Susquehanna for children with burn injuries and funding for scar treatment research.
The network partners with fire service organizations and safety educators to provide occupational safety training for first responders. Increasingly, Burn Prevention Network programs are being used by other organizations throughout the country to serve their most vulnerable populations.
For more information on Burn Prevention Network programs and services, volunteer opportunities or other ways to further this mission, call 610-969-3930 or visit burnprevention.org.