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Howard Fire Department service award recipients recognized

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

HOWARD – Though there hasn’t been an awards banquet for them for two years because of the pandemic, members of the Howard Fire Department were out in full force at the village board meeting March 8 when the annual award recipients were recognized for 2019 and 2020.

Public Safety Chief Ed Janke said the Firefighter Service Award is selected by the firefighters themselves to recognize “the best of the best.”

“Probably the highest level of gratitude that one can feel is being recognized by your peers for the job that we all do the same each and every day,” he said.

From left, firefighter Derrick Hoppe and Lt. Greg Nelezen are recognized March 8 at the Howard village board meeting as the Howard Fire Department’s 2020 Firefighter Service Award recipients. Kevin Boneske Photo

Janke said the Firefighter Service Award recipient for 2019, firefighter Trevor Anderson, was recognized for picking up shifts and helping people around the station.

“He’s always there to help,” he said. “He’s selfless in his service to the community and a go-to firefighter. He goes above and beyond every day in his duties, and is a great leader. He exemplifies Howard Fire Department values.”

The 2020 award co-recipients, Lt. Greg Nelezen and firefighter Derrick Hoppe, Janke said, were recognized for their involvement with the training facility at Fire Station No. 2.

Janke said Nelezen is regarded by his peers as “a dedicated and valuable member of the department.”

“Lt. Nelson also manages our recruit program,” he said. “He’s a great mentor to our firefighters.”

Janke said Hoppe is known for being “quiet, but dependable.”

He said Hoppe “demonstrated commitment to the department, bringing his construction knowledge to build the (training facility) tower – (an) all-around good guy.”

Village President Burt McIntyre thanked the firefighters on behalf of the board.

McIntyre said many people don’t realize that besides helping people in distress and putting out fires, firefighters do a lot of other things.

“This is a very creative bunch, and they help an awful lot around the village hall,” he said. “I think if most people understood what they have to do in their normal duties, just to keep those trucks clean and the equipment up to par, they’d be extremely impressed with the amount of time that you guys put in. We are extremely proud of you… I can’t express enough our appreciation for what you do.”

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