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Fire district honors excellence, dedication, integrity and valor

February 6, 2019
By MELISSA BILL ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District held its annual Awards Ceremony on Jan. 29. The district fire chiefs dressed for the occasion to honor members of the district who merited special recognition for years in service, promotions received, certifications earned, and lives saved.

Award announcements were made by Fire Chief Robert DiLallo, and each recipient received a handshake from Deputy Chief Rodolfo Naranjo, Assistant Chief Ralph Ketron and Assistant Chief Ken Bennett. There was plenty of applause from family members and the public who attended the ceremony.

According to Assistant Chief of Administration Ralph D. Ketron, while some of the nominees were able to attend, a few missed the ceremony due to an over whelming number of dispatch calls that evening.

"Unfortunately a lot of award-winning employees were unable to make it to the ceremony. Their individual achievements are a credit to our members and to our district. As further evidence of their dedication, many honorees missed the presentation of their awards and the photo ops due to serving our community by responding to calls," Ketron said.

The awards given included longevity of service, categories from five years to 30 years with the district; Ongoing Commissioner, Promotions, Special Awards, Employee Performance Award, Firefighter of the Year and Phoenix Award.

The Phoenix Award is presented to emergency responders who resuscitate a patient in cardiac arrest. Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians, communication officers and local firefighters, received awards during the ceremony.

Those whose lives were directly touched by the acts of fire district personnel spoke during the Phoenix Awards.

"Their stories really captured everyone's hearts. Each patient came up and shared their stories. One story being from one of our own, Rick Pride, who went into cardiac arrest while working and was brought back to life," said Ketron.

According to Ketron, another highlight of the evening was a presentation given by Christopher Torres who presented Abner Adorno with a special award for going above and beyond to help out a fellow fire fighter.

"Chris Torres gave a speech on how Abnor came in and took care of Pride's family while he was in the hospital. A special award committee nominated Abnor for watching over his family during his absence. Pride is now back at work and recently was moved up to the title of fire inspector," said Ketron.

Other nominations included: Employee Performance Award Recipient, Chief Oreste Borrego who started his career with the fire district in 2006 as a firefighter paramedic. He worked his way to assume the position of lieutenant in 2016; and Firefighter of the Year Recipient, Engineer Tony Overbee, who has served 30-plus years in fire service and has held many certifications including Acting Captain, Arson Investigator, Rescue Diver, Level 4 hazmat technician and a Fire School Instructor at the Southwest Florida Fire Academy.

For a list of all the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue Districts award recipients, visit



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