chamber honors local heroes
VALPARAISO: Designees tout teamwork as the real success
story ran on nwitimes.com on Friday, September 15, 2006
12:13 AM CDT
VALPARAISO | Emergency workers don't consider themselves
to be heroes, but several were singled out for the honor
Thursday at the Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce
Percolator Club luncheon.
Individuals selected for the honor by their departments
included: Judy Myers, an 18-year Porter Emergency
Medical Services for member; Tom Clements, lead
instructor for the Community Emergency Response Training
program of the Porter County Emergency Management
Agency; Porter County Sheriff's Department Deputy Matt
Edwards, and Cpl. Michael Grennes, community and media
relations person for the Valparaiso Police Department.
Also honored was the Valparaiso Fire Department. Fire
Chief David Nondorf said the department is very much a
team effort and, while individual acts were among the
possible choices, it was impossible to choose just one
In accepting the award for the firefighters, Jeff Lawly,
president of Firefighters Association Local 1124, said
the atmosphere is like being in a family because they
spend 24 hours together at a time.
"If nothing else, we can be a dysfunctional family,"
Lawly said. "It's like Thanksgiving with the in-laws
every three days. People call us when they can't think
of who else to call. We tend to be the problem solvers,
and sometimes we come up with solutions nobody likes."
The team spirit of all the emergency services was the
theme of remarks by each of the recipients. Myers
accepted the award on behalf of the other 40-plus people
she works with in the EMS department saying, "I'm no
better than anyone else I work with."
Chief Sheriff's Deputy David Lain said Edwards'
accomplishments during the past year included being
involved in the arrest of a crack dealer during which
shots were fired and Edwards was wounded by shrapnel.
"Matt has what I like to call a fire in his belly to get
the job done, but he would rather face a burglar in a
dark alley than you folks," Lain said.
Valparaiso Police Chief Michael Brickner said, for the
department to be successful, it must have a good
partnership and relationship with the community, and
Grennes has been instrumental in developing outreach
programs that go beyond those of any other community.