SPARTA – The 200 Club of Sussex County honored several Sussex County emergency personnel at their annual Valor Awards Reception, for their courageous acts in the midst of dangerous situations they encountered while on duty.
The 2013 Valor Awards Reception took place on Oct. 24, at the Lake Mohawk Country Club. Event sponsors were: Jostens, Langjahr Forsyth & Low, Nisivoccia, and Sussex Bank. The event committee included: Pat Aramini, Skip Danielson, John Drake, Allen Langjahr, Christopher Lynch, Tony Torre, and Glen Vetrano.
The incidents the individuals honored responded to, occurred in Sussex County during 2012, with three events in particular that were recognized. The three municipalities where the happenings took place were: Andover Township, the Town of Newton, and Franklin Borough.
Award presenters included: Eskil S. “Skip: Danielson (Andover Township), John Drake (Newton), and Patrick Aramini (Franklin Borough).
The personnel recognized for the Andover Township incident included: Andover Township Police Sergeant Eric Danielson, Officer George Laoudis, Officer Joseph Indano, and Dispatcher Janet Ragsdale.
For the incident in the Town of Newton, Newton Police Officer Daniel Finkle and Past Fire Chief Joseph Inga, were recognized.
In the Franklin Borough incident, Franklin Borough Police Lieutenant Jeffrey Smith, Sergeant Leo Kinney, and Officer William Grissom, were honored. As a call that officers from other municipalities responded to, Byram Township Police Sergeant Guy Mariani also received an honor at the ceremony, as well as Hardyston Township Police Officer Michael Masters, for their response during the event.
The first incident occurred on April 6, 2012, in Andover Township, with a resident running around with a rifle. Danielson, Laoudis, and Indano responded to the scene, while Ragsdale communicated with them. Danielson was able to negotiate the weapon (which was fully loaded) away from the subject, while Laoudis and Indano provided cover, and kept other area residents safe. Danielson, Laoudis and Indano received Meritorious Commendations and Ragsdale a Recognition Award.
The second incident on Nov. 16, 2012, involved a working structure fire on Newton’s Spring Street. When Finkle learned a woman might have been trapped inside the multi-family building, he sprung into action. As a member of the Newton Fire Department as well, Finkle sought out the victim, and found her, before being pushed out by smoke and heat. He re-entered the building leading Inga to the victim, who Inga rescued (and she survived). Finkle received a Valor Award, and Inga a Meritorious Commendation.
The third incident occurred the following day, on Nov. 17, 2012, when a hostage situation was called in to the Franklin Borough Police Department, with a mother and father being held hostage by their son. When Smith, Kinney, and Grissom arrived, the mother exited through the front door, and was shot by her son. The officers escorted her to safety, where Masters cared for her, and coordinated the Medevac to Morristown Medical Center (she survived the injury and was released from the hospital shortly after). Mariani used his skills as a hostage negotiator, and the son let his father go. The perpetrator died after releasing his father, from a self-inflicted gun wound. Smith, Kinney, and Grissom received Valor Awards, and Mariani and Masters, Meritorious Commendations.
The 200 Club of Sussex County helps to provide financial assistance to families of Sussex County emergency personnel in law enforcement, fire, EMS and emergency management, who lose their lives in the line of duty. They also provide scholarship assistance to public safety personnel and their dependents. The group additionally, as they did on Oct. 24, recognizes those who respond and perform above and beyond what they are called to, while in the line of duty.
The 200 Club of Sussex County was founded in 1991. Although all the 200 Clubs are independent of one another, the first club was started more than 40 years ago in Detroit, when a businessman asked 100 friends to donate $200 each to help a family of a young police officer, after he perished in the line of duty.
Click here for the 200 Club of Sussex County’s website.