The FDNY Foundation Congratulates FDNY Members Honored at Annual Medal Day Ceremony

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The FDNY Foundation Congratulates FDNY Members Honored at Annual Medal Day Ceremony

On Wednesday, June 7th, the FDNY Foundation joined the FDNY at the annual FDNY Medal Day Ceremony held at Louis Armstrong Stadium in Queens.

The FDNY Foundation congratulates all of the recipients from this year’s Medal Day ceremony. We thank them for their commitment, service, and dedication, and for going above and beyond the call of duty to always help keep New Yorkers safe.

The FDNY Foundation is proud to continue to support FDNY Medal Day and the publication of the 2023 Medal Day Book!

Some of this year’s medal recipients included:

Firefighter Artur Podgorski of Ladder Company 108 was awarded the Chief of Department Peter J. Ganci Jr. Medal and the New York State Honorary Fire Chief’s Association Medal, the highest award for bravery to a firefighter, for his work at an incredibly dangerous fire in a Midtown, Manhattan high-rise. Firefighter Podgorski climbed 21 flights of stairs and was lowered on a life-saving rope, without being tied off to a substantial object, and rescued an entangled victim while 20 stories high.

Lieutenant Shlomo Winkler of Station 14 and Paramedic Kira Watkins of Station 45 were awarded the Christopher J. Prescott Medal. This is the highest award given annually for members of EMS Operations. In an unusual and highly dramatic rescue, the pair, working together out of Station 45, treated two patients who plummeted five floors down an elevator shaft at the Bronx Terminal Market. One of the patients was extricated quickly and suffered minor injuries, but the other was trapped. Then-Rescue Paramedic Winkler climbed into the pit to treat the patient through the breached floor.

Firefighter Stefon Douglas of Engine Company 276 was awarded the Brooklyn Citizens Medal and FF Louis Valentino Award. Firefighter Douglas fought a fire four doors down from his own home while off duty. He donned a SCBA he had in his car and entered the back of the home where the fire was. He helped a neighbor putting flames out with the garden hose and finally made entry into the home to search for victims. Crawling down the hallway without a hoseline, protective gear or help from other units, he was able to remove a crying child from the bathroom and out of harm’s way.

Lieutenant Charles Santangelo of Haz-Tac was awarded the Chief Ulyses Grant Leadership Medal for his incredible work at the Twin Parks fire. As soon as Lieutenant Santangelo arrived at the fire, he was inundated with patients. One after another, he worked to ventilate, resuscitate and provide life-saving measures to each patient he encountered.

The Yadira Arroyo Medal was awarded to Paramedic Mark D. Gioffre, Paramedic Johnathan D. Silvera, EMT Jazmin M. Bourdier, EMT Brandon J. Camacho, EMT Jose Lemus, EMT Christopher T. Love, EMT Vincent Rebolledo, and EMT Joel N. Rosado of Station 26. These members of Station 26 responded to a house on fire around the corner from their station. They helped save multiple people in this fire. The victims of this incident would have had a far less desirable outcome if it had not been for the members of EMS Station 26. Their bravery and teamwork are a testament of what it means to be part of this great Department.

The World Trade Center Memorial Medal was awarded to Captain John F. Hunt, Firefighter Thomas E. Burke, Firefighter Michael V. Ferrara, Firefighter David N. Skinner, Firefighter Clinton D. Velten, and Firefighter Jacob Worstell of Ladder Company 56. They responded to the Twin Parks fire in the Bronx. Seventeen lives were lost at this tragic fire. Ladder Company 56 was able to rescue six victims, four of whom survived. This monumental task under extreme conditions was accomplished by pure determination, teamwork and dedication to the mission of this Department.

The Captain Alison Russo North Star Medal, named in honor of Captain Alison Russo, killed in a random and unprovoked violent attack while at work on September 29, 2022. The award represents the leadership and bravery of a woman who was known for her wealth of knowledge, her kind heart and her dedication to her job. This medal was awarded to Captain Edgar Baez of Public Safety Answering Center 2. For his outstanding leadership qualities, particularly on September 29, 2022, Captain Edgar Baez is the inaugural recipient of the Captain Alison Russo North Star Medal for Leadership.

Last year, our Department suffered the tragic loss of Firefighter William (Billy) Moon of Rescue Company 2, who was critically injured while conducting a training drill in quarters. Firefighter Moon was an organ donor. When it became clear he would not recover, his family made the decision to donate his organs, a choice that saved the lives of five people, including two retired FDNY members. In his honor, the William P. Moon II Medal of Life was created to be given to any member who dies in the line of duty and donates their organs. Firefighter Moon’s wife, Kristina, is a tireless advocate for organ donation, and she was presented with this inaugural medal.

Once again, the FDNY Foundation congratulates this year’s Medal Day recipients. We can never thank all our FDNY members enough for everything they do on a daily basis to help keep us all safe.

To view the ceremony, click HERE.

To view more photos from the ceremony, click HERE.

To download the 2023 FDNY Medal Day book, click Here.