ATLANTIC CITY — For the first time in 13 years, the Atlantic City Fire Department formally honored firefighters Friday for their acts of valor.
The ceremony brought about 200 people to City Hall and aimed to boost morale for the department during a year that’s brought cuts, reorganization and litigation with the state.
“This has to be the best day we have had this year,” said Fire Chief Scott Evans, who led the ceremony.
On Friday afternoon, Evans brought the focus to firefighters who went beyond their duties in 2016.
City officials also came to the ceremony, including Mayor Don Guardian, who helped distribute the awards, Mayor-elect Frank Gilliam and City Councilmen Kaleem Shabazz, Aaron Randolph and Mo Delgado.
During the ceremony, Evans told stories of calls that resulted in awards for the firefighters. Some incidents involved firefighters entering a burning building with zero visibility to rescue children, jumping into the ocean to rescue a drowning victim or entering a burning building while off duty.
The following received valor awards:
Class II Award: Battalion Chief Kurt Marrone for the rescue of a drowning victim June 25, 2016.
Class III Award: Firefighter Brian Kane for rescuing victims caught in a riptide Aug. 8, 2016.
Class III Award: Batallion Chief Thomas Smith for entering a burning home to rescue an elderly woman Jan. 1, 2016.
Class I Award: Firefighter Jeffrey Bird, for saving two brothers during a fire in a burning home Oct. 24, 2009.
Class II Award: Batallion Chief Shannon Stinsman and Firefighter Gregory Rando, for assisting Bird in rescuing trapped brothers from a burning home Oct. 24, 2009.
The ceremony also honored dozens of firefighters with unit citations in group efforts. Two civilians were honored for their efforts in helping an elderly woman out of a burning building on South Dover Avenue.
“The firefighters love doing what they do. They love their jobs. They give 100 percent,” Evans said.