Belvidere firefighters awarded medals of valor
Eight Belvidere firefighters received awards Tuesday during an annual awards ceremony and memorial in Springfield.
Firefighter Aaron Pihl, Lieutenant Shawn Schadle and Firefighter Jeff Vaughan, all of the Belvidere Fire Department, were among nine firefighters to receive the Medal of Valor, which is awarded for “an act of heroism or bravery that clearly demonstrated courage and dedication in the face of danger while in the performance of duty,” according to an Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal news release.
Five others in the department -- Firefighters Mark Beck,James Kriebs, Jason Swanson and Nicolas Thornton, as well as Captain Mark Zumbragel -- received Firefighter Excellence Awards for the professionalism they demonstrated in the line of duty. Fourteen firefighters in the state received this award.
The ceremony also recognized the families of two firefighters who died in the line of duty. State Fire Marshal Matt Perez presented the Duty Death Gold Badge to the families of John “Mike” Cummins of the Homer Fire Protection District and Lawrence Matthews from the Village of Dolton Fire Department.
Firefighters from all around Illinois attended the 25th Annual Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Firefighting Medal of Honor Awards Ceremony, honoring individuals for actions performed in 2017.
In addition to the Medal of Valor recipients, two firefighters received the Medal of Honor – the highest recognition for selfless and courageous acts "above and beyond the call of duty."
Six fire units were awarded Firefighter Excellence "Teamwork Unit Citation" Awards for acts of service and teamwork. One firefighter received recognition for dedication to the fire service.
Medal of Honor:
– Lieutenant Eric Schrage, Collinsville Fire Department
– Paramedic Todd Zobrist, Highland Fire/EMS
Medal of Valor:
– Captain Daniel Whiteside, Alton Fire Department
– Firefighter Aaron Pihl, Belvidere Fire Department
– Lieutenant Shawn Schadle, Belvidere Fire Department
– Firefighter Jeff Vaughan, Belvidere Fire Department
– Firefighter Eric Claudio, Chicago Fire Department
– Lieutenant/EMT John O’Brien, Chicago Fire Department
– Firefighter/Paramedic Andrew Hoff, Downers Grove Fire Department
– Firefighter/Paramedic Scott Sohn, Downers Grove Fire Department
– Firefighter/Paramedic Quinn Triplett, Downers Grove Fire Department
Firefighter Excellence Award:
– Firefighter Mark Beck, Belvidere Fire Department
– Firefighter James Kriebs, Belvidere Fire Department
– Firefighter Jason Swanson, Belvidere Fire Department
– Firefighter Nicolas Thornton, Belvidere Fire Department
– Captain Mark Zumbragel, Belvidere Fire Department
– Firefighter/Paramedic Michael Covelli, Downers Grove Fire Department
– Firefighter/Paramedic Kevin Schrader, Downers Grove Fire Department
– Paramedic Ty Barr, Highland Fire/EMS
– Firefighter Ben Bentley, Peru Fire Department
– Firefighter Alex Duncan, Peru Fire Department
– Lieutenant Neil Nadolski, Peru Fire Department
– Engineer Kris Ayers, Wood River Fire Department
– Engineer Bill Hall, Wood River Fire Department
– Firefighter Jamie Wells, Wood River Fire Department
Firefighter Excellence "Teamwork Unit Citation" Awards:
– Blue Island Fire Department
– Broadview Fire Department
– Chicago Heights Fire Department
– North Chicago Fire Department
– Orland Fire Protection District
– Pana Fire Department
Certificate of Recognition:
– Firefighter/Paramedic Mark Buettner, Bolingbrook Fire Department