Effingham Fire Department Assistant Chief Matt Kulesza, Captain Jim Charters, Lieutenant Jason Lee and firefighters Lucas Kroening and Danny Klepzig were recently named as Midwest Regional winners of the First Responder Caring Award.

These individuals were nominated by Chief Joe Holomy for their heroic teamwork responding to an incident earlier this year for a man trapped under a semi-trailer weighing approximately 40,000 pounds that had fall on him.

Chief Holomy was first to arrive on the scene of the incident, and after making a quick determination of the situation, directed arriving crews. Utilizing air bags, cribbing and a fork lift, these individuals were able to lift the trailer approximately six inches and extracted the victim in nine minutes from the time of arrival on the scene.

These firefighters then assisted EMS personnel with patient immobilization, treatment and transport to the hospital.

The First Responder Caring Award recognizes a first responder or department that in 2017 demonstrated the essence of caring or compassion and includes personnel in EMS, fire or police. Dynarex, the sponsor of the award, received more than 60 nominations from across the country that depicted unique stories of heroism, exceptional community service, acts of compassion and demonstration of caring and commitment to others.

The award winners were announced at the EMS World Expo Show in Las Vegas during the week of October 16.

“I am extremely proud of these individuals, as well as all of our personnel, for their dedication, compassion and professionalism they display every day on every incident they respond to,” said Chief Holomy.

“These give individuals worked as a team utilizing their collective training and knowledge to extract this individual as quickly as they did,” Holomy added. “Although the outcome was not what we had hoped, I cannot express how proud I am of all of them being recognized on a national level. They are all a true representative of who we are.”