SARASOTA -- Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, honored the winners of the 16th Congressional District Fire and Rescue and Emergency Medical Services Awards Monday.
Buchanan established the awards to recognize fire and rescue and EMS personnel who have provided distinguished service.
"As first responders, fire departments and emergency medical service teams are summoned on short notice to serve their respective communities," Buchanan said. "Oftentimes, they arrive at scenes of great adversity and trauma, to which they reliably bring strength and composure. These brave men and women spend hundreds of hours in training so that they are prepared when they get `the call.' I believe these awards are a fitting tribute to our first responders and a reminder of the important role they play in our communities."
Among the winners was Mike Dunn, a firefighter with Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue who developed the Your Life Matters card first responders keep on hand to give to addicts after they recover from an overdose. Heroin overdoses have been particularly prevalent as
deaths continue to climb. Dunn has said he had the idea for the cards because he wanted to offer addicts information about where they could get help.
The 10 Manatee and Sarasota County award winners are:
Michael Dunn, firefighter/EMT at Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue with the Preservation of Life Award.
Lt. Don Rossow, Englewood Area Fire Control District for Dedication and Professionalism.
Robin Thayer, district chief and paramedic at Manatee County EMS received the Career Service Award.
Lt. Wilkins, Lt. Mann, Firefighter/EMT Jones, Firefighter/Paramedic Sponable and Firefighter/EMT Huber with the Sarasota County Fire Department received the Unit Citation Award.
Brett Pollock, deputy chief at West Manatee Fire Rescue with the Career Service Award.
Larry Betts, fire investigator and inspector at Southern Manatee Fire Rescue District with the Dedication and Professionalism Award.