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Firefighter of the Year: Congratulations to Firefighter/Paramedic Cody Ritenour who was selected by the Knights of Columbus to receive their 2015 Firefighter of the Year award.

Firefighter Ritenour is being awarded the honor for his heroic efforts in saving motorists at the scene of a violent car accident while off duty. 

Firefighters inherently have the qualities you would expect in a hero. Helping others is what they do, and a lot of the skills and qualities they use on duty are used off duty as well. Cody was nominated for the City of Lakeland's Heroism Award based on an his actions off duty in helping at the scene of a violent car accident. He will be recognized at the City of Lakeland Commission meeting on April 6, 2015. The account is best summarized by the nomination narrative: 

"On February 15th, 2015 at approximately 9 AM, an unfortunate head-on collision took place in Osceola County on State Road 60. Cody Ritenour, a Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) Firefighter and Paramedic was several vehicles behind the incident when it occurred, while traveling home after completing his shift.

Upon noticing there was commotion up ahead, Cody made his way to the accident scene and found that bystanders had pulled a four year old girl and a six year old boy from one of the involved vehicles; it was quickly filling with smoke from an engine compartment fire. The driver of the vehicle was entrapped and was unresponsive. The fire was spreading quickly and with no way to put it out, Cody decided to instead attempt to get the victim out. He was unable to open the front doors without extrication equipment due to the severity of the crash. He made access into the vehicle through the back seat where he tried to free the entangled victim, yet was unsuccessful. The flames overcame the firewall and entered into the interior of the vehicle where the heat and smoke forced Cody to retreat.

Unable to continue helping the driver, Cody applied his training and experience in the field and turned his attention to the young children involved.  He noticed that the four year old girl was unresponsive but was breathing and had a pulse and that the six year old had suffered serious injuries but was alert. The driver of the other vehicle had minor injuries and was ambulatory. Cody sprang into action by calling 9-1-1, identified himself, and reported there was a vehicle fire and an unresponsive pediatric that will most likely need a helicopter (later, while working with the first arriving officer he confirmed that the helicopter was indeed requested).

Cody continued patient care after hanging up with the emergency operators by accessing the children’s vitals and listening to lung sounds with his personal stethoscope until further support could arrive. Cody directed several bystanders to assist him with the children until fire and EMS crews arrived. Once they arrived, Cody again identified himself and gave them the details of the scene. Cody assisted EMS with patient care and packaging the children for transport. A landing zone was established by crews on scene and two helicopters landed on State Road 60 to fly the children to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children for Trauma Care in Orlando.

We cannot express enough how incredibly proud we are of Firefighter Ritenour. Not only did he risk his own life by attempting to save the driver of the accident from a burning vehicle, but he also put his training to work and took command of the scene. Cody triaged the victims and was able to assemble the necessary resources to give the remaining victims the care they needed and a fighting chance at survival.

Cody is a young man with less than two years of practical fire and medical training however he showed poise and composure beyond his years. At the time this recommendation was written it is unknown what the outcome of the children’s injuries were or what the future holds for them but we are certain that they have a better chance of recovery due to the actions taken by Cody Ritenour on that day.

On behalf of the entire Lakeland Fire Department, we would like to formally recommend Cody Ritenour for his heroism and that he be recognized through the City of Lakeland’s Heroism Award Committee for his actions that day, and for responding beyond his call of duty.

Lieutenant  Joseph Delegge " 

The award ceremony took place at the Resurrection Catholic Church Parish Hall, located at 3720 Old Road 37 in Lakeland on January 30, 2016. 

Congratulations to Cody. His heroic and selfless actions are greatly appreciated by LFD and the entire Lakeland community.


The department is very proud of its 2014 Firefighter of the Year Awardees. Every year, spanning from January to April, four separate organizations in Lakeland recognize an outstanding member of the fire department as “Firefighter of the Year” from the previous calendar year. The civic groups that present these awards are: Lakeland Knights of Columbus, American Legion, Sons of the American Revolution, and the President’s Round Table of Lakeland.

Several nominations were submitted by LFD firefighters for their peers.  The department is proud to recognize the three of its Firefighter’s who were awarded with multiple Firefighter of the Year Awards for their heroic actions that set them apart for going above and beyond their regular duties.

Lt. Matt Brown: American Legion FFoY (County), American Legion FFoY (State), President’s Roundtable Heroism Award; FFoY.

For running to the aid of a wounded police officer, while off duty.

Driver Engineer Richard Hance: President’s Round Table Heroism Award; FFoY.

For saving young passengers of a horrific car accident, while off duty.

Driver Engineer Petur Leonard: Knights of Columbus FFoY Award. Sons of the American Revolution FFoY.

For rendering emergency medical care to a critical patient in the field. Actions taken by Paramedic Leonard credited for saving the patient’s life.

Congratulations to the 2014 Awardees and sincere appreciation to them for being fine examples of LFD emergency response personnel. 

View photos of the awardees here


Every year, spanning from January to April, four separate organizations in Lakeland recognize an outstanding member of the fire department as Firefighter of the Year. The first of these recognitions for “Firefighter of the Year” is given by the Knights of Columbus of Lakeland.

Several nominations were submitted by LFD firefighters for their peers and this year’s winner for the Knights of Columbus Firefighter of the Year award is Firefighter and Paramedic Petur Leonard.

Petur is being recognized for his medical abilities in the field and particualry for a call last year invlvoing a small child who was saved as a result of Petur and his crew’s actions.

The following narrative submitted by his then lieutenant outlines the events that led to his award:

On September 14, 2014, Rescue Truck (R- 42) was dispatched to an emergency call for a “child not breathing; doing CPR”.  R-42 Driver Engineer (D/E) / Paramedic Petur Leonard and Firefighter / Paramedic Jonathan Forrester immediately responded to the call.

Due to the nature of the call and the possibility of complications, Station 4 Officer, Lieutenant Chuck Davis, decided to also respond to the call with R-42 on Engine 41 (E-41) with its respective crew. 

Rescue 42 arrived on scene first. Lt. Davis arrived on E-41 shortly after and upon entering the home witnessed D/E Leonard rendering medical care on the floor doing chest compressions on the infant patient; all awhile calmly and accurately providing lifesaving orders to the other medical responders on scene.

A few minutes after arriving and beginning compressions on the infant, the patient’s eyes and mouth opened and the child gasped for breath. He had been resuscitated.

D/E Leonard continued with CPR to complete the recommended two minute cycle. At rhythm check during CPR, D/E Leonard found the infant had regained a pulse although the child was not breathing on its own. 

While the other emergency responders assisted at the scene in getting the necessary equipment out and ready for further medical care, D/E Leonard intubated the infant and drilled an Interosseous (IO) needle into the infant’s leg for Intravenous (IV) access for medications and fluids. Petur performed multiple medically complex procedures that are arguably responsible for saving the young patients life.

The work Firefighter/Medics perform in the field is heavily based on teamwork and the assistance of fellow emergency response professionals. In this situation, several crew members worked together to assist in saving this child’s life, as expected of them.  However, the actions taken by Petur Leonard should be noted as having a significant impact on this situation, resulting in such a positive, life-saving outcome.

Congratulations to Firefighter Leonard and job well done! The award ceremony to honor Petur was held at Resurrection Catholic Church on Saturday, January 31, 2013 from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm.

 

 

 

 

 


The Lakeland Fire Department is fortunate to have some of the finest firefighters in the field today. Although all are great at what they do, some stand out as exceptional due to their work in the community and their abilities as trained professionals.

Every year, spanning from January to April, four separate organizations in Lakeland recognize an outstanding member of the fire department as Firefighter of the Year. The first of these recognitions for “Firefighter of the Year” is given by the Knights of Columbus of Lakeland. 

Several nominations were submitted by LFD firefighters for their peers and this year’s winner for the Knight of Columbus award is Firefighter and Paramedic Margaret Orozco.

Margaret is being recognized not only for being very good at what she does but also for her in depth volunteer work with burn camps benefiting young victims of fires, on both a state and national level.

Earlier in 2013 Margaret was recognized for her work in both the city of Lakeland’s Access newsletter and by Lakeland’s The Ledger which featured her in their Monday Morning profile series.

Congratulations to FF Orozco! The award ceremony will be held at Resurrection Catholic Church on Saturday, January 25, 2013 from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm.

Firefighter and Paramedic Margaret Orozco. Photo courtesy of The Ledger.

Update: Photos from the ceremony held on Saturday, January 25, 2013

Update: March 01, 2014

The Knights of Columbus who awarded Firefighter Orozco with the Firefighter of the Year award have made a generous donation of $250.00 to the Children's Burn Camp in her name. This is in honor of Margaret's work with the group and service to her community. A big thanks goes to the Knights of Columbus for the generous donation to a worthy cause.