Toledo firefighter-paramedic Robert Kendrick was off-duty Aug. 12 when he saw smoke rising from a North Toledo apartment. He sprang into action.
The 54-year-old father of five was coaching his son's Mid-City Football League team, the Spartans, just before 6:30 a.m. when he noticed the burning apartment at 1394 North Cove Blvd., near the team's practice field.
"I looked up and saw a plume of smoke and said, 'Let me see what's going on,'•" Mr. Kendrick recalled yesterday.
He was just one of more than a dozen northwest Ohio firefighters who yesterday were presented awards for heroism, longevity, prevention efforts, and meritorious service during the Zenobia Shriners' Fifth Annual Burn Awareness and Firefighter Recognition Program.
Mr. Kendrick, who is assigned to Fire Station 16 and works on Life Squad 4, received the Judge's Award for Heroism for aiding victims during the apartment fire.
He helped to resuscitate a 52-year-old woman who fell from the second floor during the blaze, and stayed with and comforted the woman's 8-year-old son, who had also escaped the fire.
The fire blocked the building's exits and was later ruled accidental.
Because of Mr. Kendrick's efforts, the woman, Constance Willis, made it to Toledo Hospital's emergency room alive. She died in the hospital Jan. 4 because of injuries related to the fire.
Other individuals honored yesterday included:
•Prevention Awards: Eric Schmidt of the Perrysburg Township Fire Department and Gary Guendelsberger of the Perkins Township Fire Department.
•Presidents Awards: Mark Wietrzykowski and Lt. Timothy Clapp, both of the Toledo Fire Department; Jerry Haar of the Harris-Elmore Fire Department, and Paul Mortus of Ottawa County's Erie Township Fire Department.
•Longevity: Vincent Nye of the New Riegel Fire Department; Thomas Seaberg and Susan Seaberg, both of the Put-in-Bay Fire Department, and Marion Mellott of Old Fort Volunteer Fire Department.
•Heroism: Bob Schumann, James Verbosky, Ryan Launder, and Alex Hennessy, all of the Rossford Fire Department, and Lt. Dave Degnan of the Sandusky Fire Department.
•Retiree: Mike Snyder, of the Oregon Fire Department; Alvin Neikirk, of the Scipio-Republic Fire Department, and John Drummer, of the Port Clinton Fire Department.