Honoring the heroes

Fire Department recognizes 9 members in ceremony

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
Fire Chief Steve Hergenreter congratulates Paramedic Brian Egemo after he received a Lifesaving Award Wednesday morning for his role in reviving a 4-year-old boy who drowned in a swimming pool. Firefighter/Paramedic Kasey Porter, another member of the team that revived the boy, stands at right while Assistant Fire Chief Matt Price readies his award certificate.

The two men and the little boy seemed to be dead when they were found, but each ended up leaving a hospital and going home to their families

In each case, a group of Fort Dodge firefighters and paramedics revived them.

Those firefighters and paramedics were honored Wednesday morning during a first-ever awards ceremony held at the firehouse, 1515 Central Ave.

“I think it is important for us to recognize the great work that you do,” Fire Chief Steve Hergenreter told the firefighters, paramedics, Fire Department retirees and other guests gathered for the event.

“There are people walking around Fort Dodge that would not be here if it wasn’t for you,” he added.

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
Assistant Fire Chief Matt Price presents a Lifesaving Award to Firefighter Tim Pille for his role in reviving a 68-year-old man who went into cardiac arrest and survived. Lt. Devon Schuster, another member of the team who saved the man's life, stands at right. Pille will retire next month.

In addition to the Lifesaving Awards, two new awards named after past chiefs were presented to firefighters for how they deal with the public and for technical know-how.

Hergenreter said the Lifesaving Awards are for crews that resuscitate a cardiac arrest patient and that individual lives to go home from the hospital. Awards for three incidents were presented Wednesday, Hergenreter said there were likely other successful cases as well.

The first incident involved a 45-year-old man. Lt./Paramedic Devon Schuster and Firefighter/Paramedic Kyle Porter received Lifesaving Awards for that response

The second incident involved a 4-year-old boy who drowned in a swimming pool. Paramedic Brian Egemo, Firefighter/Paramedic Kasey Porter and Firefighter/Paramedic Greg Nelson received the Lifesaving Award.

The third incident was a call to help a 68-year-old man suffering from chest pain. While rescuers were attending to him, he went into cardiac arrest. He was revived, and was transported directly to the cardiac catheterization lab at UnityPoint Health-Trinity Regional Medical Center. Kyle Porter, Firefighter Stephon Cook, Firefighter Tim Pille and Schuster received Lifesaving Awards for that response.

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
The Fort Dodge Fire Department held an awards ceremony Wednesday morning to recognize some of its members for their acheivements.The awards ceremony was a new addition to the breakfast the current firefighters host for the department's retirees. Shown after the ceremony are, from left, Assistant Fire Chief Matt Price; Firefighter/Paramedic Mike Wiltzius. recipient of the Chief Harry Callahan Award; Firefighter/Paramedic Mychal Edler, recipient of the Chief Willard Whitcome Award; and Fire Chief Steve Hergenreter.

The new Chief Willard Whitcome Award was created to honor a Fire Department member known for treating the public and co-workers with the greatest respect while being selfless in their service to the community. The honor was presented to Firefighter/Paramedic Mychal Edler.

The Chief Harry Callahan Award is for a department member known for being skillful and innovative. The award was presented to Firefighter/Paramedic Mike Wiltzius.

The award ceremony was incorporated into the annual breakfast the Fire Department holds for its retired members.

“The reality is we’re riding the shoulders of the people who came before us going all the way back to the 1800s,” Hergenreter said.

The oldest retiree present, Neal Greve, joined the department in 1964. On Wednesday morning, Greve was telling some of the current firefighters about the proper technique for sliding down the pole when the Fire Department was based in the Municipal building, 819 First Ave. S.

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
Assistant Fire Chief Matt Price presents the Chief Harry Callahan Award to Firefighter/Paramedic Mike Wiltzius during an event Wednesday morning at the firehouse.

There was also a bell-ringing ceremony to honor past firefighters who have died. One retiree, Mike Jones, died since the breakfast was held in the spring of 2023.

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
Assistant Fire Chief Matt Price presents the Chief Willard Whitcome Award to Firefighter/Paramedic Mychal Edler duing an event Wednesday morning at the firehouse.

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
The Chief Harry Callahan and Chief Willard Whitcome awards rest on a table before the awards ceremony Wednesday morning at the Fort Dodge Fire Department.


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