The 2020 Rockville Public Safety Awards ceremony, sponsored by the Rockville Chamber of Commerce, was held a little differently this year. COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the usual ceremony, typically held in June. Instead award presentations were held separately for each public safety agency in Rockville at Veteran’s Memorial Plaza on Sept 9, 2020. Awards were presented to personnel from the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department, Rockville City Police Department, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department and the Montgomery County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
RVFD members received recognition in two categories: Distinguished Service and Meritorious Service.
The life of a volunteer at the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department is both rewarding and demanding. All riding volunteers have a minimum standby or on-duty requirement of 600 hours per year in addition to extensive training.
In 2019, RVFD volunteers provided area residents with over 111,000 hours of staffing. It is not unusual for some volunteers to go beyond the minimum and give over 1,000 hours per year.
As admirable as that is, there are some that go well beyond the call of duty when serving their community. The following RVFD personnel had the most standby hours in 2019: Firefighter-Rescuer II Arash Kamali, 3,207.5 hours; Master Firefighter (now lieutenant) Christopher Hallock, 3,364.1 hours; and Master Firefighter Lukas Bastien, 3,8993 hours.
They are awarded the Meritorious Service Citation for their efforts to service the community well beyond what is expected of them.
On Thursday August 22, 2019, while returning to Station 3, the crew of RS703 came across a Metro Transit Police officer attempting to detain a person in the 900 block of Hungerford Drive.
The crew saw that the lone police officer was fighting with the person in the middle of the road. The crew also saw that the person was on top of the officer, had been able to remove the officer’s Taser and was attempting to stun the officer while simultaneously punching the officer in the head.
Recognizing the peril the officer was in, the crew from RS703 stopped their unit to block traffic and — at great risk to themselves — removed the man from the officer without they or the officer being stunned by the weapon and without further injury to the officer.
The crew then assisted the Metro Transit Police officer, whose backup had still not arrived, to detain and handcuff the man.
During the scuffle, the officer sustained several cuts and a contusion above the left eye. The crew of RS703 requested an EMS transport unit and immediately treated not only the officer’s injuries, but also the then-detained man’s injury, who had also sustained injuries.
M703 arrived to further evaluate and treat the injuries. Ultimately, both the man and the officer were transported to the hospital for a more detailed evaluation of their injuries.
If not for the collective efforts of the crew of RS703, the awareness they displayed and the personal risk they took upon themselves, the outcome of the incident could have resulted in serious injury or death to the officer.
The members of the crews are recognized for their bravery and professionalism with the Unit Citation for Distinguished Service.
On Monday, April 1, 2019, units from Rockville Volunteer Fire Department Station 3 were dispatched on a call for a person having difficulty breathing. The patient was a 21-year-old man suffering from kidney failure.
He was found with agonal respirations – struggling to breathe – and subsequently went into cardiac arrest while fire and rescue personnel were on the scene.
The Station 3 crews, both volunteer and career, successfully resuscitated the patient on the scene and transported him to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital for further treatment.
Approximately three weeks later, the patient was discharged from the hospital and returned home. He has fully recovered. The quick and efficient actions of personnel on the incident saved the man’s life.
For the collective efforts of the personnel, the dedication to their training and their commitment to the residents of the community they serve, the members of Rockville Volunteer Fire Department are receiving a Unit Citation for Distinguished Service.