Eleven area residents have been chosen to receive the ninth annual Outstanding Service Awards by Owens Community College’s Alumni Association for tremendous contributions to Northwest Ohio’s surrounding communities. The recipients are honored as part of a community celebration.
Award winners included Zachary Zender, Mike Posadny, Mike Benadum, Kamal Parker, James Sherman, Larry Potts, Rick Backus, Melanie Harris, Brian Henry, Richard Mathias and Dr. Sue Gavron.
“Owens Community College’s Alumni Association is proud to once again recognize the humanitarian efforts of Northwest Ohio’s police, fire and emergency medical professionals, as well as private citizens,” said Andrea Gurcsik, Alumni Association president. “Many of their selfless acts of public service go unnoticed as they do not seek out attention. The Outstanding Service Awards were created to honor their efforts and thank them for their continued service to our region, state and country.”
The awards are presented within the categories of outstanding police officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, service to community and community spirit. Selection is based upon a nomination process for candidates demonstrating exceptional service related to dedication, ingenuity, bravery, special skills and/or community service over a sustained period. The awards are not limited to a single recipient and can be a group honor where teamwork was a key element.
The recipient of the Outstanding Police Officer Award is Zachary Zender, of Fremont, a Deputy Sheriff with the Sandusky County Sheriff’s Office. Zender was nominated by Sheriff Kyle Overmyer and Chief Deputy Bruce Hirt for putting his life at risk to save four individuals from a burning house.
Outstanding Firefighter Award winners included the following members of the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department: Mike Posadny, of Perrysburg, captain; Mike Benadum, of Genoa, lieutenant; Kamal Parker, of Toledo, firefighter; James Sherman, of Holland, firefighter; Larry Potts, of Toledo, firefighter; Rick Backus, of Toledo, firefighter; and Melanie Harris, of Toledo, firefighter. They were nominated by Toledo Fire and Rescue Department Medal Ceremony Committee for risking their own lives to ensure the safety and survival of their fellow firefighters.
The Outstanding Emergency Medical Technician Award honor is presented to Brian Henry of Toledo, lieutenant, Toledo Fire and Rescue Department. Henry was nominated by Toledo Fire and Rescue Department Captain Bryce Blair for his efforts in saving a person’s life under adverse conditions during a vacation trip at Hocking Hills State Park in Logan, Ohio in November 2011.
Richard Mathias of Cygnet (retired fire chief, Cygnet Volunteer Fire Department) received the Outstanding Service to the Community Award. Mathias was nominated by Cygnet Mayor Nancy Myers for his tireless efforts to the Cygnet Volunteer Fire Department and the village of Cygnet.
Dr. Sue Gavron of Bowling Green (community volunteer) received the Community Spirit Award. Gavron was nominated by American Red Cross Regional Director of Programs and Services Kenneth Robinson for her dedication and positive impact her volunteerism efforts have made on others throughout the Northwest Ohio region and beyond.