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Two Buffalo firefighters to get top honors for Durham Ave. rescue

The Buffalo Fire Department’s highest honors will be presented to a firefighter and a lieutenant from Ladder 7 when the department holds its 125th annual award ball Friday evening in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

Firefighter Michael Menge will be given the Memorial Award for Bravery Gold Medal and Lt. Matt Osinski will receive the Memorial Award for Bravery Silver Medal for their efforts in rescuing an unresponsive man from the second-floor bedroom of a burning home at 147 Durham Ave. on March 12.

The two men also will be added to the roster of the Police and Firemen’s Insurance Association Heroes Hall of Fame, along with four others who assisted at that fire: Firefighters Lothell Blackman, Michael Chase, Gerald Walls and Donald Woodhull.

The Memorial Award for Bravery Bronze Medal will be given to Firefighter Jon Velez of Engine 26 for helping to rescue a man found unconscious with his clothes on fire Dec. 30, 2014, in a blaze at 71 Elgas St. Assisting him was Lt. Michael Connelly of Engine 26, who will receive the Erie County VFW Award for Valor.

Three firefighters will receive the Edward H. Butler Award for Bravery, named after the former publisher of The Buffalo News, for rescuing a badly burned woman from a burning home at 210 Glenwood Ave. on April 24.

Firefighters Michael Dougherty and Edmund Courtney, both of Rescue 1, will be given the Gold Medal and Silver Medal, respectively. The Bronze Medal will go to Firefighter Christopher Fuez of Ladder 6.

Dougherty also received the Butler Gold Medal last year. Courtney was honored with the 2014 Memorial Award for Bravery Gold Medal.

Other awards include:

• Two members of Ladder 4 will be recognized for rescuing an unconscious man from a house fire at 1268 West Ave. on March 5. The Chief Bowers Award for Bravery will go to Lt. David Lauber and the Independent Insurance Award will be given to Firefighter Timothy Nowak.

• The Local 282 Award for Bravery will be given to two Rescue 1 firefighters – James Gatta and John Relosky – who brought a man to safety from a burning boarding house at 262 High St. on May 11. Their names also will be added to the Police and Firemen’s Insurance Association Heroes Hall of Fame.

• Other Local 282 Awards for Bravery will go to Firefighter T.J. Blackmon of Ladder 7 for helping rescue the victim from the fire on Durham Avenue in March and Firefighter Connor Maguire of Ladder 4 for helping remove a seriously injured fellow firefighter from the attic of a burning house at 472 Grant St. on Oct. 2, 2014.

• The first Chris Dill Veterans Memorial Award for Bravery will be given to Lt. Juan Nieves of Engine 37 for helping rescue the injured firefighter from the Grant Street fire last October.

• The SPCA Award will go to Firefighter John Colligan of Ladder 14 for retrieving a puppy that fell into a drain pipe 8 feet below ground level on Warwick Avenue on June 25.

• The Donald Auer Humanitarian Award for Community Service will be presented to Buffalo Professional Firefighters Association Local 282 for representing more than 700 members and taking part in numerous fundraising events for charities.

• The Local 282 EMS Award will be given to Firefighter Kathryn Gall of Engine 4, who was off duty when she discovered the father of Battalion Chief Mark Hillery unconscious in a car in South Buffalo after suffering a heart attack last Nov. 4. She administered CPR, saving his life.

• Other Local 282 EMS Awards will go to Firefighter Robert Logal of Engine 36, who performed CPR to save the life of a heart attack victim after an auto accident at Hertel and Parkside avenues last Dec. 5, and Firefighter James Wilkinson of Engine 19, who was administering CPR to a child in cardiac arrest Aug. 28, 2014, in an ambulance that was broadsided by another vehicle. Wilkinson and an ambulance medic climbed out of the wreckage and continued CPR in the back of a police cruiser, which took them to Women & Children’s Hospital.

• The Blue Cross Blue Shield EMS Award will be presented to Firefighter David Gardner of Engine 36, who assisted a police officer in rescuing a suicidal woman trying to drown herself in Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park on Sept. 28, 2014.

• The Buffalo Fire Commissioner’s Unit Citation for EMS will be given to four members of Engine 31 – Lt. Mike Wisniewski and Firefighters Vernon Maddox, Margaret Keane and James Riggins – for their efforts to save the life of a mother and a premature baby that was not breathing after it was born on a couch on Erb Street last Dec. 2.

• The Fire Commissioner’s EMS Award will be presented to Capt. Mark Mendola, Lt. Jason Czora and Lt. Mark Flanagan for their efforts to save the life of a fire recruit who collapsed from a heart attack June 18 at the Buffalo Fire Training Academy.

• The Commissioner’s Meritorious Service Award will go to Lt. Daniel Corcoran for his 30 years of service and leadership at Rescue 1.

• The Chief Ron Looby Memorial Performance Award will be given to the Communion Breakfast Committee, a group of 15 people who organize the annual celebration honoring Fire Department members who have died during the past year.

email: citydesk@buffnews.com