ZFD honors firefighters at annual banquet

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By Jarred Meeks

At the 20th annual Zionsville Firefighter banquet Feb 1. Zionsville Fire Dept. Fire Chief James VanGorder and others recognized a number of Zionsville Fire Dept. staff for exemplary performances in 2019.

On Nov. 11, several ZFD units were dispatched on reports of a structure collapse. All of the roof structure trusses had fallen and initial reports indicated two people were trapped. They were rescued by ZFD firefighters and transported to hospitals. For their efforts, the units involved were awarded a unit accommodation.

In another instance, ZFD units were dispatched to a residence on a report of an elderly woman choking. The woman’s face had turned blue by the time units arrived, approximately 3 minutes after dispatch received the call.

It was revealed by a family member that she was eating steak and a piece had lodged in her esophagus. The woman went unconscious but responders were able to dislodge the blockage in time to save her life. The units and responders involved were awarded a Lifesaving Award for their actions.

Nathan Oakes was awarded the Probationary Firefighter Commendation (Rookie of the Year award). Firefighter/EMT Shane Daugherty said Oakes “has the dedication that goes above and beyond what is expected of a rookie.”

Bobby Smith was given the Emergency Medical Technician of the Year Award. Daugherty said Smith’s bedside manner is “always appropriate. He is one of the first to jump to assess the patient. He does not shy away from anything.”

Abdullakh “Dully” Abamislimov, who has been a medic for one year, was awarded the Paramedic of the Year Award.

“(He) has grown tremendously over his short career at the Zionsville Fire Dept.,” Daugherty said.

Rob Coonfield was presented the Firefighter of the Year Award, which is given to a non-chief, active regular member who has made the most significant contribution to the department in the past year.

“He is mentally and physically ready to handle any challenge that is thrown his way,” Daugherty said. “He proves day in and day out that it is possible to balance a sometimes hectic and demanding career along with being a caring and loving husband and father. He is a firefighter that most people aspire to be like and look up to.”

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