LIVINGSTON—Saint Barnabas Burn Foundation presented 15 New Jersey firefighters with the prestigious Valor Award and honored more than 70 additional firefighters during the 21st Annual Valor Awards Dinner held on Oct. 16 at the Westminster Hotel in Livingston.
The Valor Awards Dinner is sponsored by the Burn Foundation, established in 1987 to support The Burn Center at Saint Barnabas—New Jersey’s only certified burn treatment facility. The annual event recognizes firefighters, policemen, and additional health care professionals from throughout New Jersey for their heroic endeavors on and off the line of duty. Honorees are nominated by respective departments and selected by a committee of peers.
Captain Patrick T. Kelleher, Lt. Brian Carne, and Firefighter Robert Palmer were honored with Valor Awards for saving a man’s life in January 2007.
Police officers on the scene notified the fire department of a resident trapped in the burning home. Kelleher entered; he crawled on his hands and knees trying to find the resident. However, flames and intense heat forced the captain into the hallway. Kelleher recognized the severity of the situation. Smoke, heat, and fire were growing in intensity; if he didn’t reach the victim fast this person had no chance of survival. Again he entered the second floor bedroom alone and without the protection of a hose line to extinguish the flames. He found the victim unconscious, slumped over a chair just a few feet away from the fire. He carried the victim into the hallway.
Carne, on his way to assist the captain, wrapped his arms around the victim. At the top of the stairs Palmer grabbed the victim’s shoulders and together they carried him down the narrow staircase and out to safety. While the victim was being treated outside, Carne reentered the home and with the help of Kelleher and other brave members of the engine crews the fire was extinguished.
The victim was treated for two months at the Burn Center at Saint Barnabas. He suffered internal injuries from inhaling the hot gases of the fire and burns on his face, arms, hands, and legs.
Recipients of the 2008 Valor Award also included Captain Jack Dunne and Firefighter Michael Daly of the Bayonne Fire Department; Captain Michael Bailey and Firefighters Ronald Catania and Richard LoMonte of the Montclair Fire Department; Captains Matthew Cordasco, John Hanrahan and William Murnane and Firefighters Abnathy Mason and Krzysztof Sroka of the Newark Fire Department; Captain Allen Smith of the North Plainfield Fire Department; and Firefighter Walter Heckel of the Springfield Fire Department.
Alongside the prestigious Valor Award, awards honoring team effort, humanitarian, community service and many others celebrated and paid tribute to various community firefighters, EMS, police officers, and civilians from towns and cities alike whose courageous act of assistance substantially changed the outcome of various emergency situations in the state of New Jersey.
Saint Barnabas Burn Foundation provides supportive services and counseling to burn victims and their families treated at The Burn Center at Saint Barnabas. In addition, the foundation’s educational programs teach burn awareness, prevention and fire safety to thousands of people of all backgrounds throughout the state of New Jersey. To learn more or to make a donation, call (973) 322-4344.
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