Mayor de Blasio and Fire Commissioner Cassano Honor Members of FDNY at 145th Medal Day Ceremony

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano today presided over the 145th annual Fire Department (FDNY) Medal Day Ceremony at the 69th Regiment Armory in Manhattan. This annual event honors more than 65 members of FDNY who demonstrated exceptional courage and skill in responding to fires, public safety and medical emergencies, and disasters throughout New York City.

“Over the past year, those brave men and women being honored today responded to  fires, public safety and medical emergencies, and disasters – demonstrating the utmost dedication to FDNY’s daily mission of protecting the lives and property of those who work, live and visit New York City,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Every day, firefighters and members of emergency medical services respond to all types of incidents providing unparalleled firefighting, pre-hospital medical care and all hazards response—the FDNY members being honored today have further amplified this uncommon bravery with their outstanding actions.”

“Each year on Medal Day, we gather not only to recognize the extraordinary work of those receiving medals, but also the exemplary work of all members who demonstrate why FDNY is called New York City’s bravest,” said Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano.  “Every single day, FDNY members continue to set the standard for firefighting, pre-hospital medical care and all hazards response at incidents across the five boroughs, establishing the Department at the forefront of emergency services across the country and around the world.”

This year, the Department’s prestigious James Gordon Bennett Medal was awarded to Lieutenant Robert E. Lee for his response with Ladder 47 to an early morning fire in the Bronx on October 23, 2013. While operating in the rapidly deteriorating environment and leading his forcible entry team, Lieutenant Lee twice removed trapped residents—an adult and a child—himself. The highest EMS honor, the Christopher J. Prescott Medal, was awarded to EMT Brendon Hernandez for disarming a patient who had shot a Police Officer at Harlem Hospital on June 10, 2013. His partner, EMT Jean Altidor Jr. was awarded the Chief James Scullion Medal for his efforts to subdue and detain the violent patient.

Probationary Firefighter Ryan C. Blackwell was awarded the Probationary Firefighter Thomas A. Wylie, which recognizes the outstanding efforts of those newest to the Department. Operating in heavy smoke conditions and with limited visibility, Firefighter Blackwell rescued a woman from her Bronx apartment on September 14, 2013.

The Lieutenant Kirby McElhearn Medal was awarded to Paramedic Japhet G. Gaengan of Station 16, along with Doctors David Ben-Eli and Douglas A. Isaacs of the Office of Medical Affairs (OMA) for their treatment of an MTA worker who was trapped chest-high in viscous mud 75 feet below 2nd Avenue subway project on March 19, 2013. As firefighters worked to extract the patient, Paramedic Gaengan and Doctors Ben-Eli and Issacs maintained an airway and warmed him for more than three hours.

The World Trade Center Memorial Medal was awarded to Ladder Company 176 in Brooklyn, which cooperatively removed six residents from an early morning fire. Four medals were awarded to units in recognition of the teamwork required in all aspects of firefighting.

A total of 46 medals were awarded to 65 recipients at Fire and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) personnel and units.

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