TIPPECANOE — Each year, the Marshall County Firefighters Association honors one member with a “Firefighter of the Year” award. Fire departments around the county are asked to recommend one individual who has carried out his or her duties exceptionally that year. Nominees for 2011 were Matt Rupert from LaPaz and Ed Marquardt from Plymouth.
Plymouth firefighter Dan Tanner said of Marquardt, “Though many firefighters are worthy of this nomination, few have exhibited the extraordinary effort put forth on a daily basis for greater than 25 dedicated years in the fire service than Ed. Whether it is on a scene for our fire district or assisting another, leadership from our department as well as leadership from surrounding departments looks to Ed for guidance and decision-making for the situation at hand.”
LaPaz firefighter Wes Bringham recommended Rupert for the award, describing Rupert’s actions during a drowning call at Lake of the Woods. Upon finding the victim unresponsive and not breathing, Rupert started CPR, continuing until EMS arrived.
“Matt’s actions in the scenario should be an example to all of us,” said Bringham. “We all train for a situation like this and Matt was able to put that training into action when it mattered.”
During an awards night at the Tippecanoe Fire Department Wednesday evening, Rupert was presented with the award.
“It feels good to be recognized for what I did,” said Rupert later.
He has served on the fire department for eight years, and said that he finds it rewarding to help others in their time of need.
District chairman for the Indiana Volunteer Firefighters Association, Don Kissinger, also presented Al Robinson, of LaPaz with a 25 years of service pin. Assistant fire chief for Lapaz Chris Oginsky said later that Marquardt would also receive a 25 years of service pin.