Awards honor city's heroic first responders
October 10, 2006 (WLS) -- The men and women of the Chicago police and fire departments put their lives on the line every day when they go to work. Tuesday, the departments handed out their highest awards for heroism to officers, firefighters and paramedics who helped save others and make Chicago a better place to live.
Everyday, Chicago firefighters and police officers go to work and do their jobs. Their jobs can be challenging and dangerous. Tuesday, some of the most outstanding were recognized by their peers and the city
Local politicians are accustomed to being in the spotlight at City Hall. But Tuesday the spotlight is on some of those in uniform who serve the citizens of Chicago.
"These individuals have lived up to Chicago's promise to be there when you need them," said Commissioner Raymond Orozco, Chicago Fire Department.
More then 40 Chicago firefighters, paramedics and police officers were honored for acts of extraordinary bravery and heroism by Chicago's mayor and aldermen.
"Not all these stories made the media, but they made the city better because they put their lives on the line for this city," said Supt. Phil Cline, Chicago Police Department.
Many of the stories you may not have heard of -- like a day for paramedic Mary Hallock, who was recovering from surgery at home when an explosion next door badly burned her neighbor. She helped save her neighbor.
"We do what needs to be done, which is the job that we do," said Mary Hallock, Chicago paramedic.
Some stories did make headlines.
Last year, Sergeant Richard Plotke assisted two Morton Grove officers serve a warrant on West Summerdale. They were greeted with two offenders and gunfire. Sergeant Plotke shot both offenders. All the officers survived the ordeal.
"You think going to a slow district you're gonna be save. That's just not the case. It can happen any time, anywhere. You try and maintain a level of alertness, and hopefully, you'll get through the day, said Sgt. Richard Plotke, Chicago Police Department.
In January, off-duty firefighter Joe Kish rushed into a house fire on South Princeton. He rescued a man then went back into the smoke to make sure no one else was inside. The rescued man survived.
What made this case remarkable: Kish has been injured fighting a fire five months before. He had be cleared for work only days before seeing the fire on Princeton.
"This is for every guy who puts the uniform on everyday in and out, has the courage to crawl down the hallway and do what they're supposed to do. It's just a great honor," said Lt. Joe Kish, Chicago Fire Department.
Lieutenant Kish received the 2006 Carter Harrison Award. Sergeant Plotke received the 2006 Lambert Tree Award. Mary Hallock was given the Paramedic Award of Valor.
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