Piqua firefighters recognized for Meritorious Service


PIQUA — Six members of the Piqua Fire Department were recognized for their lifesaving efforts at the scene of a traffic crash this summer, during a ceremony at Piqua City Commission chambers on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Firefighter/Paramedics Jackson Karakis, Brandon Lavy, Drew Maas, Robert Gerodimos, Tyler Beard, and Captain Doug Stewart received Meritorious Service Awards for their actions.

The six responded to a crash on Aug. 18, 2023 at the northbound rest area on Interstate 75 for a crash involving a vehicle that ran into the rear of a semi-tractor trailer. The passenger vehicle was wedged underneath the truck.

According to the narrative accompanying the Meritorious Service Awards, “The vehicle sustained heavy damage and did not appear to be survivable. Crews quickly learned there was a live victim in the wreckage and began rescue operations.Due to the shear magnitude and complexity of the extrication, the event took 45 minutes to free the victim who sustained major trauma and was then CareFlighted from the scene. If it had not been for the technical expertise and teamwork of the arriving crews, the outcome for the patient may have been completely different. The actions displayed that day by the crew’s professionalism reflect great credit upon them, the Piqua Fire Department, and the city of Piqua. In keeping with the highest traditions of the Piqua Fire Department …”

The ceremony was kept a surprise to the recipients who arrived to find family members awaiting their arrival.

Chief Pohlschneider said the Meritorious Service Medal is awarded to members who distinguish themselves by performing in an outstanding manner, worthy of recognition, while engaged in the mediation of a fire, medical emergency, rescue, hazardous materials incident or other type response.

Pohlschneider also recognized the assistance of the Troy Fire Department, Fletcher Fire Department, CareFlight, and Bushnell Towing who provided a heavy duty wrecker and skilled driver who provided help in keeping the wreckage stablized during the rescue.

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