MAD RIVER TOWNSHIP — Two emergency medical service providers with the Enon-Mad River Township Fire and EMS Department were among those honored by their peers at the department’s annual awards banquet, held Jan. 14 at the Enon VFW Post 8437.
Michael Gardone and Captain Timothy Wendling were named Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Providers of the Third and Fourth Quarters 2016 respectfully by Fire and EMS Chief Tracy Young. Upon presenting the awards, Young commended the two emergency medical technicians (EMTs) for playing a significant role in maintaining the excellent level of emergency medical services to the community.
“Both Mike and Tim are very dedicated members of this department and have contributed much in assuring quality emergency care to our citizens,” Young said.
Gardone, a Level II firefighter and EMT-Basic, has served as a firefighter for more than 30 years and has brought many valuable skills to the position since he joined the township fire and EMS department in September 2014. Gardone is certified in confined-space and swift-water rescue, hazmat incident command, and telecommunication dispatching I and II. He is also a certified level I and II fire officer, level I fire instructor, level I and II fire inspector, aircraft fire rescue instructor, hazmat technician and airport firefighter.
“I became a firefighter because it was a childhood dream of mine. My firefighting career began in 1982 as a junior firefighter, and I fell in love with the job from the start,” Gardone said.
Gardone first served as a firefighter in the United States Air Force in 1986 and continued his career in firefighting in 1989 as a civilian firefighter at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Fire Department. He received his EMT certification in 1990 and have maintained that certification ever since. Currently, Gardone trains new recruits on fire apparatus at the township firehouse.
“Michael Gardone is a great employee. As a veteran firefighter, he serves as a mentor and leader within our organization. He brings his skills and attributes, as a district chief at Wright-Patterson Fire Department, and applies them to our organization. Although he has only been a member of the Department since 2014, he has earned the respect of a veteran employee and is a valuable asset to our organization. It was my honor to present the third-quarter award to him,” Young said.
The Enon resident and father of two said he valued the vote of confidence from his fellow coworkers.
“Receiving this award is a great privilege and honor for me. To receive the award shows that you are doing all the right things and that you are making a difference for the department and the community as a whole,” Gardone said. “Winning the award is an individual feat, but it could not be made possible without teamwork. When you have a great team, you get great results.”
Wendling, a 35-year veteran of the township fire and EMS department, has worked up the ranks throughout the years and has assumed many leadership roles. The level-one firefighter and advance EMT served as chief of the EMS department from 1996 to 2002. In 1998, he played an instrumental role, along with current EMS Chief Jackie Ashworth, in developing the EMS billing and part-time paid programs for the department.
“Originally, we were a volunteer fire department, but now the station is staffed during the daytime, Monday through Friday, with four employees who are on hand to promptly answer calls. This program has cut response times significantly and has helped improve emergency care,” Wendling said.
Wendling also served as a lieutenant in the department from 2007 until he was promoted to the rank of captain in July 2014. Currently, Wendling is the coordinator and lead officer of the technical rescue team which consists of dive team operations and water rescue and recovery, including open-water, swift-water, and ice rescues. The captain also serves as the department’s vehicle maintenance program manager and is in charge of maintaining two medic units, two fire engines, a rescue engine, a 77-foot ladder truck, a battalion vehicle, a brush truck, a water rescue boat and utility vehicle.
“These two vital elements are critical for operational continuity and Captain Wendling does a superb job. As a veteran member, he serves as a mentor for younger employees and is a true leader within our organization. It was my honor to present him with the fourth-quarter award,” said Young.
Wendling, a resident of the township since 1972, noted that it has been an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of the village and township. The captain also expressed his appreciation to the members of the EMS department who chose him as the recipient of the Emergency Medical Service Provider of the Fourth Quarter 2016 Award.
“I want to thank Chief Young and my coworkers. I really appreciate the award, but I am just doing my job. Everything that is done for the community takes good teamwork and collaboration by all the members of the department,” Wendling said.
Young first established the EMS provider award in 2015 in an effort to recognize the members of the EMS department who continually display excellence in the performance of their duties as first responders. Each quarter, one recipient is chosen by his or her peers, and one of the four quarterly recipients is chosen as the Emergency Medical Service Provider of the Year. On Saturday, Ben Beair, the 2016 first-quarter recipient, was recognized as the Emergency Medical Service Provider of the Year 2016.
“These men and women respond to emergency situations 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and this is just one way we can recognize them for the outstanding work they do for this community,” said Young.
Linda Collins is a freelance reporter for Greene County News.