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50th Hero Banquet recognizes lifesavers

Safety council of Northwest Ohio holds annual event

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    Toledo firefighter Kyle Romstadt accepts an Award of Heroism from Dennis McMickens, president and CEO of the Safety Council of Northwest Ohio, during the 50th annual Hero Awards Banquet at the Pinnacle in Maumee.

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    Spencer Shultz, left, receives a hug and a Good Samaritan Award from Mark Manifold, right, during the 50th annual Hero Awards Banquet at the Pinnacle in Maumee. On July 23, Mr. Shultz took life-saving actions to help Mr. Manifold, a motorcyclist injured in a crash.

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    Tommy Bagnasco, center, thanked the members of the Toledo Fire Department during the banquet for saving his life. The firefighters were attending a boxing match when Mr. Bagnasco was knocked out and his breathing began to slow. They preformed CPR and called paramedics.

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Toledo firefighter Kyle Romstadt didn’t dither when he saw a fellow firefighter in need.

Mr. Romstadt helped fight a heavy fire at a vacant home home Oct. 16 in Toledo when he heard firefighter Jason Files cry out from the inside of a burning room, apparently disoriented by the heavy flames and unable to get out. 

Mr. Romstadt quickly rescued him and then used his own body to smother the flames on the victim’s gear.

“Our job is very dangerous as it is and I just reacted to the situation at hand,” Mr. Romstadt, 26, said. “I’m just happy he wasn’t seriously injured.”

IN PICTURES: 50th Hero Awards Banquet

Mr. Romstadt was among 30 people recognized Thursday at the 50th annual Hero Awards Banquet at the Pinnacle in Maumee. Presented by the Safety Council of Northwest Ohio, the ceremony honors those who have saved a human life in the past year and those who went above and beyond the call of duty.

The four-year veteran of the Toledo Fire Department appeared reluctant to talk more about what he had done, saying he simply did as he was trained.

“It’s an honor to be here ... to look back and realize that we’ve made a difference in peoples’ lives,” he said.

Also recognized Thursday was Sandusky police Officer Natalie Ross. On July 1, Officer Ross pulled a 3-year-old boy out of the path of a passing vehicle just as it touched the child.

 It happened when the child wandered off toward the road as the officer interviewed the child’s mother she was investigating after the child was found wandering alone.

“It feels good knowing that I have helped him,” Officer Ross, 34, a five-year veteran of the police department, said. 

“I saw the car coming and I just knew that I had to get the child because I knew the driver didn’t see him.”

Robert Momany, the Safety Council of Northwest Ohio vice president of operations, said such recognition ceremonies are significant because “it’s important to highlight what the folks have done.”

“It shows the good in the community, the good news that there are people in our community who are ready to step in when their fellow man is in need,” he said.

The event’s sponsors included Buckeye Broadband and Health Management Solutions Inc.

Those honored at the event Thursday include:

Good Samaritan Awards – Recognition for lifesaving actions on behalf of another.

Toledo firefighters Michael Beilstein, Damon Dotson II, Anthony Hague, Juston Fisher, and Kamal Parker; and Toledo fire Battalion Chiefs Brian Byrd and David Hitt on July 22 performed cardio-pulmonary resuscitation on an unconscious boxer who had no pulse after being knocked out in a boxing match.

Paul Leonard, 3rd shift production supervisor and first responder at Sterling Pipe & Tube Inc.’s Toledo plant and Anthony Robinson, also a first responder at the plant, on July 23 performed cardio-pulmonary resuscitation on an unconscious employee who had no heartbeat after taking a fall.

Kathryn Fry, a trainer at Materion Beryllium and Composites in Elmore, Ohio, on Aug. 1 administered first aid to a new employee who was suffering from apparent heat stress.

Richard Smith, a lab inspector at Fresenius Medical Care North America’s Oregon manufacturing plant, on Nov. 2 performed the Heimlich maneuver on a person who was choking on food.

Michael LaPoint and Anthony Yancey, employees at Autoneum North America’s Oregon plant, on Dec. 23 used an improvised tourniquet to stabilize a fellow employee whose right hand was cut off when caught in a grinder.

Terry Norris and Keith Riley, Ohio Department of Transportation employees, on Jan. 3 flagged down a confused elderly wrong-way driver who was driving east on westbound I-475.

Lisa Watson, a Woodland Elementary School behavior-support monitor, on March 9 performed the Heimlich maneuver on a choking student.

James Phillips, the Phoenix Academy acting dean, school employees Kristin Allen, Robert Kennedy, Laura Leady; and Shamea Gibson, a parent of a student attending the school, on March 29 performed cardio-pulmonary resuscitation on a Lucas County deputy sheriff who collapsed while restricting an unruly student.

Certificates of Appreciation – Recognition for lifesaving actions above and beyond the call of duty.

Toledo firefighters Josh Althaus and Taryn Kirk on May 7 rescued a blind victim they found unconscious at the scene of an apartment fire.

Sandusky police Officer Natalie Ross on July 1 pulled a 3-year-old child from the path of a passing vehicle.

Toledo police officers Michael Futrell and Jon Gruenberg, on Jan. 15 saved a woman and her two children caught up in an apartment fire.

Awards of Heroism – Recognition for outstanding acts of heroism.

Toledo firefighter Kyle Romstadt on Oct. 16 rescued a fellow firefighter blocked in by flames in a house fire.

Brenda Kinner, vice president at Sterling Pipe and Tube, on Feb. 22 administered first aid to two 4-year-old children injured in a traffic crash.

Spencer Shultz and Cameron Karves, both of Perrysburg Township, on July 23 took life-saving actions to help a motorcyclist hurt in a crash.

Contact Mike Sigov at:, 419-724-6089, or on Twitter @mikesigovblade.

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