Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Firefighter of the Year awards given

'WHAT WE DO, HELP PEOPLE'

By Scott J. Croteau TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
scroteau@telegram.com


WORCESTER — Firefighters put their lives in danger battling blazes, pulling people from car wrecks and jumping into waterways.

Those acts, something firefighters know they might face, were applauded and praised today at the state's Firefighter of the Year awards at The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts.

Among those honored was Worcester Fire Lt. Jeffrey R. Dubeau, who on May 1 stopped an out-of-control car on Route 9 in Shrewsbury. Lt. Dubeau received a merit award at the ceremony.

“None of us went into whatever we did to be recognized,” he said. “It is just part of your fabric, I suppose.”

The lieutenant was driving home from a birthday party with his 7-year-old son, Jack, when he saw the car heading toward the intersection of Route 9 and Oak Street. Mindful of his son's safety, he maneuvered his truck to stop the car. The driver had a seizure and was slumped over the wheel.

Lt. Dubeau was surprised when the city recognized what he did. The city also gave his son a plaque.

“It happened so quick. It was more like a reaction,” he said of his actions that day. “I guess it was a little life lesson for him (my son.) He got to see what we do, help people.”

A group of Northbridge and Uxbridge firefighters received an award for rushing to the aid of a man and his son in Meadow Pond on Aug. 16. Northbridge Fire Capt. David M. White; Lts. David Holmes and James Gosselin; and Firefighters Anthony Genga, Gary Noel, William White and Frank Brackley; and Uxbridge Fire Chief Peter Ostroskey and Uxbridge Fire Capt. Steven Tancrell were on stage and received a meritorious group award.

Firefighters pulled 6-year-old Youssef Hanna and his father, Sarwat Hanna, 43, out of the water. Both were in cardiac arrest. Mr. Hanna eventually died, but the young boy lived.

For their efforts during the tornado relief and rescue efforts a group of area fire departments — including Brimfield, Monson, Southbridge and Sturbridge — received a State Fire Marshal's award.

Norfolk firefighters, who served 600 meals to residents of Brimfield after the tornadoes, received the same award.

photo
Massachuetts Secretary of Public Safety Mary Elizabeth Heffernan gives Worcester Fire Lt. Jeffrey R. Dubeau a Meritorious Individual award today at the Massachusetts Firefighter of the Year Awards at The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts in Worcester. (T&G Staff/CHRISTINE PETERSON)

http://www.telegram.com/article/2011...641/1101/local