Fond du Lac Fire/Rescue Announces Award Winners

From the Press Release issued by Fond du Lac Fire/Rescue:

Each year, Fond du Lac Fire/Rescue awards members of the agency for their exceptional effort, commitment, and outstanding service to the department and community. This year FDL Fire/Rescue presented Officer of the Year, Paramedic of the Year, Unit Citation/Commendation Awards, Awards of Merit, Excellence Awards, Esprit de Corps Award, Fire Chief’s Special Commendation Award, and Stork Award.   FDL Fire /Rescue appreciates these members’ bravery and courage, exceptional service, and achievement to the agency.


Officer of the Year:  This award is given to a single recipient who has best exemplified the standards of excellence and service to the community and the Fire Department. This individual must exhibit an extraordinary commitment to leading the Fire Department and has earned the trust and respect of their subordinates and peers. 


This member of Fond du Lac Fire Rescue has shown great leadership, fortitude, and dedication to the citizens for Fond du Lac and to the members of our agency.  He has the unique ability to inspire, motivate, create teamwork and build morale, in all the tasks that he is involved in.  This person’s leadership abilities sets the tone for the entire department and he is always striving for perfection.  He leads by example and is constantly working with all the crews to make the agency and members the best they can be.  As one member of the agency clearly stated, “he sets a high standard for himself and strives for excellence in everything he does!”    

For the abovementioned reasons, Division Chief of Fire Prevention Troy Haase was presented the 2019 “Officer of the Year” award.                


Paramedics of the Year:  This award is given to a single recipient who has best exemplified the standards of excellence and service to the community and the Fire Department. This individual is a team player who supports efforts to achieve goals, embraces the policies and procedures and encourages improvements to the agency and our service.


  1. This member of Fond du Lac Fire Rescue has demonstrated selfless dedication to the department and its members through many avenues.  He exemplifies the standards of excellence and service to the community.  He performs his job at a very high level on a day-to-day basis and strives for personal improvement at all times.  This member is an excellent mentor for new paramedics and does a fantastic job as an instructor and trainer.  Finally and most importantly, he has teamed up with Lt. Roberts in running the Youth Fire Intervention Program for the department.  He has taken on the responsibility of working with youths who are at risk or have displayed actions of playing with fire. 

For the reasons mentioned above, Firefighter/Paramedic Nathan Philipskywas chosen for the 2019 “Paramedic of the Year” award.   


  1. This member of Fond du Lac Fire Rescue has demonstrated a high level of commitment and strives to improve the department and its membership.  He routinely works and takes on the peer role with the mentoring and training of new department recruits to help them achieve their goals during their recruit academy and probationary period. He has also taken a lead with additional responsibilities on the FDL SWAT team as a TEMS medic.  This person had just recently transitioned into the role of Acting Lieutenant, taking on more responsibility and obligation. In summary, this individual has displayed selfless dedication and shown a high level of excellence in all aspects of his profession.

For these reasons, Firefighter/Paramedic Jacob Fisher is presented one of the awards for the 2019 Paramedic of the Year.


The Unit Citation/Commendation:  This award was presented to a group of FDL Fire/Rescue members who made up a company, which performed in an outstanding manner for service to the community. 


  1. On September 19, 2019, Fond du Lac Fire Rescue received a request for our Hazardous Materials Response Team for a possible Chlorine gas leak at Saputo Cheese Plant in Alto WI.  Although Hazardous Materials calls are not a frequent incident, this day created a larger struggle for members of Fond du Lac Fire Rescue, as most all members were engaged in a firefight of a triple fatality house fire on Military road.  This team of seven individuals mitigated a complex hazardous materials incident without any injuries or major risk to the responders, plant staff or citizens of Alto. 

For these reasons, the following are awarded a 2019 Unit Citation.  

Captain Joe Maramonte, Lieutenant Rick Faris, Engineers Rick Gerritson and Chris Behnke, Firefighter/Paramedics Laura Ketelhut,  Jed Rathke, and Taylor Huenink.


  1. During the early hours of June 6, 2019, during the Walleye Weekend festival, a 40-year-old man approached the Firefighters tent stating that he was sweaty and having chest discomfort. After the primary assessment that included vitals and four-lead monitor was complete, the medics quickly realized that this was much more than simple heat exhaustion. Soon after the fire rescue company from station 2 arrived and the patient was loaded into M482, the patient started to seize and eventually went pulseless non-breathing (PNB).  The quick actions of the crew, which included IV access, rapid sequence intubation, administration medications and defibrillation shock, converted the dying patient into a stable rhythm with a pulse.

Because of the crews lead edge of knowledge and skills, in order to recognize a patient in dire need for advanced medical expertise, this patient was given the best possible outcome for survival.  For these reasons of dedication and commitment to the profession, the following members are awarded a 2019 Unit Citation.

Lieutenant Curt Smits, Engineer Dwight Fisher, Firefighter/Paramedics Brian Westby, Connor Knaus, Sean White, Jed Rathke, and Noah Kreilkamp.


  1. On April 9, 2019, Fond du Lac Fire Rescue received a request for assistance from Van Dyne Fire Department and North Fond du Lac Paramedic Service for a rescue of a small kayak that is in the middle of Lake Winnebago and was unable to get themselves to shore.  The victim was exhausted and unable to help himself due to the exposure to the cold water and weather.  Once the victim was secured in the rescue craft the emergency was not done, as the difficult weather and lake conditions made it a challenge to get back to land safely.   


Because of the bravery of the crew and the knowledge of operating a boat in bleak weather conditions, all involved were able to make it back to land safety and the victim was treated and transported to the hospital for weather exposure. 

For these reasons, the following are awarded a 2019 Unit Citation.

Lieutenant Andy Aird and Engineer Mitch Petersen


  1. On the early hours of March 14, 2019, crews were dispatched to a residence on South Street for dryer “buzzing” in a basement that was filling up with water.  Little did anyone realize that this was just the beginning of what turned out to be one of the largest water rescue responses that Fond du Lac Fire has ever experienced?  The events leading to this flood in the City of Fond du Lac could be considered the “perfect storm”.  Unseasonably warm weather, with a large amount of melting ice and snow led to huge volumes of water draining into the Fond du Lac River system, along with an unexpected rainstorm, which created ice jams and large localized areas of flooding within the City. 


Within the 36 hour span of the event there were over 125 calls for rescue, 53 FDLFR members involved, 91 MABAS members utilized, and hundreds of hours of working crews over the two-day event.  The magnitude of the event is difficult to describe. The FDLFR members involved shown perseverance, dedication, professionalism and resolve.


For these reasons, the following members are awarded a 2019 Unit Citation.

Andrew Behnke, Max Blitzke, Todd Janquart, Zach Mueller, Nate Philipsky, Bobby Scott, Matt Simon, Adam Stephens, Nick Fahrenkrug, Jake Fisher, Joe Goldapske, Andy Golla, John Hicken, Connor Knaus, Noah Kreilkamp, Jim Wamser, Nick Czaja, Kevin Doll, Rick Faris, Jerry Golla, Jon Hartzheim, Jim Hoepfner, Adam King, Matt Kissinger, Shawn Kneeland, Ben Kooiman, Brian Munson, Edgar Ramirez, Jed Rathke, Jason Roberts, Garth Schumacher, Phil Seibel, Mike Spencer, Sam Tennessen, Jake Vogds,Keith Wendt, Brian Winter, Andy Aird, Chris Behnke, Erick Gerritson, Taylor Huenink, Joe Maramonte, Brian Westby, Troy Haase, Chief O’Leary, Curt Smits, Sean White, Rick Gerritson, Jim Knowles, Dwight Fisher,Ben Stephany, Lori Muentner, Deb Pinnow.


Award of Merit: The Award of Merit may be presented to a member(s) based on the execution of assigned duties where said duties have been carried out in an outstanding, superior manner such as to merit recognition for service to the Agency.


Captain Garth Schumacher has been a principal part of the Command Staff for Fond du Lac Fire Rescue for many years.  During these years, he has shown a desire to further his knowledge and education.  In 2016, Garth had been accepted into the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program.  Although this daunting program is not a job requirement for Captain, Garth took the challenge head-on and completed the four years of intense training and education.  Captain Schumacher had to make sacrifices that included; work trades to attend the classes in Emmitsburg MD, being away from family and friends for weeks at a time and he endured completing three Master quality applied research papers that he could apply to real world problems in his own community.  For his passion and dedication to Fond du Lac Fire Rescue and the citizen of Fond du Lac, it is an honor to present Captain Garth Schumacher with the 2019 Award of Merit.


Excellence Award: This award is given to a recipient who demonstrates a high degree of excellence in a program area, a new initiative or has contributed, “above and beyond” to the operations of Fond du Lac Fire/Rescue during this past year.


  1. In the fall of 2019, First Shift was assigned a new hire to their shift to fill a known staffing vacancy.  One of the requirements of this new hire is to work with the shift Lieutenant of EMS, to get their paramedic check-offs so that they could get placed on the ambulance and into the normal daily staffing rotation.  Due to the timing of this required expectation, First Shift Lieutenant of EMS was going to be on an extended absence, which would have meant that either the new hire not complete his check-offs for some time, or that multiple people would have needed to fill in the position, which would have disrupted the continuity of the process.  Firefighter Paramedic Carl Bahr, being a seasoned veteran of Fire Rescue, volunteered to stand in for the Lt. of EMS, and work closely with the new hire for the duration of the paramedic check-offs.  As the person who nominated Carl stated, “FF/PM Bahr went above and beyond his job requirements and worked with the new medic to get him onto the ambulance and into our rotation in a very efficient time frame.”

For the reasons mentioned above, it is a pleasure to presentFirefighter/Paramedic Carl Bahr with this 2019 Award of Excellence.                


  1. Over the past year, Captain Maramonte had approached the Command Staff and asked if he could expand our usage of current software that already had the ability to improve information gathering during incident responses.  Captain Maramonte stated that he had looked into the “I am Responding” program and found features that were included in the program that would greatly improve the ability for units responding to find items like hydrants, lock box locations and alarm panel sites.  After the research was finished and the benefits were realized, the real work would need to be put into the program, which included a plethora of data entry.  Captain Maramonte spent countless hours of importing data and troubleshooting ideas and plans to make the program work to its peak performance.  It was Captain Maramonte dedication and virtue that got this program from just a scheduling platform to a pre-fire plan database that will assist officers and firefighters in an efficient response to incidents within the City of Fond du Lac.    

For the reasons mentioned above, it is a pleasure to present Captain Joseph Maramonte with this 2019 Award of Excellence.                


Esprit de Corps- The Esprit de Corps award may be presented to any member who fosters and inspires enthusiasm, devotion and strong regard for the honor of the Agency.


This member of Fond du Lac Fire Rescue actions and abilities are exactly what the description of this award entails. Some of the undertakings that he has displayed are;


  • During is off duty time he uses his talent of playing bagpipes during funerals for, line of duty, active duty and retired fire department members from across the State.  He also plays at funerals for deceased veterans and memorial services. 
  • He is very active in the Fond du Lac Fire Rescues’ Honor Guard, as well as the Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin Honor Guard, and has always taken a lead role in providing care and honor to families of the deceased member.
  • This member also assists and volunteers off duty with the Red Cross teaching fire safety to many different groups, including his passion to teach fire safety to Fond du Lac’s youth. 
  • On-duty, he is an essential part of the Youth Fire Intervention Program and has taken the old “Fire Setter” program to the current level of excellence that it is today.  He also has taken on the role of fire investigator, which he just recently advanced his training from the National Fire Academy. 


These are just a few examples that this individual has taken on added duties in order to put the members and citizens of Fond du Lac first and foremost.  This person will take on any worthwhile program and with enthusiasm, passion and zeal to ensure the program is complete and successful.


For these reasons, Lieutenant Jason Roberts has proven to inspire members of Fond du Lac Fire Rescue to foster our agencies motto through, Duty, Honor, Pride and Tradition, which makes him a most worthy recipient of the 2019 award for “Esprit de Corps”.


Fire Chief’s Special Commendation Award – The Fire Chief’s Special Commendation Award is given to any Fond du Lac Fire Rescue members whose actions exemplify the highest standards of professionalism, teamwork and dedication to Fond du Lac Fire Rescue.


On March 14, 2019, Fond du Lac Fire Rescue responded to a large-scale flooding event that required coordination and deployment of multiple resources that included internal city and country resources along with an extensive MABAS deployment. Assistant Fire Chiefs James Knowles, Erick Gerritson and Todd Janquart’s actions during the event provided a level or professionalism worthy of this special recognition.  For these reasons, the Chief’s Award is awarded toAssistant Chiefs Knowles, Gerritson and Janquart


Stork Award– The Stork Award may be presented to any member(s) for a field delivery of a baby on an EMS incident. All of the personnel that are directly involved with delivery of the baby (delivery, suctioning, warming, and stimulating) are eligible to receive the award.


On October 22, 2019, the crew at Station 2, first shift was called to a residence for a pregnant female that felt as though her baby was going to be delivered at her home.  Shortly after the crew arrived, the assessment from the paramedics confirmed the mother’s suspicions and the birth of her baby was imminent.  The crew quickly prepared the scene for delivery and because of the skills, care and compassion, they delivered a healthy baby into the world.

Due to the crew’s quick decision-making, knowledge and empathy, the following members are being awarded the 2019 Stork Award.

Lieutenant Jon Hartzheim, Engineer Kevin Doll, Firefighter/Paramedics Eric Rebedew, Nick Fahrenkrug, and Ben Kooiman