The twist came when firefighter Pat O’Gorman was honored in the longstanding Pinning of the Badge Ceremony, in which a trainee has qualified to become a full firefighter. The firefighter’s badge, reflecting courage and commitment, is pinned on the inductee’s chest at heart level. That badge contains a Maltese Cross and other indicia of the dedication and service of these courageous men and women. Someone very close and significant to the honoree performs the symbolic act of the actual pinning. Pat O’Gorman, a 20 year Marco Island resident, wowed the audience by having his seven year old son, Patrick, place the pin.
In a moving portion of the event, Chief Mike Murphy and incoming Foundation President Dianna Dohm, paid tribute to several devoted citizens who passed away since the last annual meeting: Mike Minozzi, former city council chairman and foundation member, known for his selfless devotion to Marco Island; Cindy Braun, treasurer of the Foundation; Vivien Ellis and Wally Hertel, also devoted to the city and itsfirst responders.
Chief Murphy noted the sharp increase in calls in 2010 over 2009 – some 400 more than last year. In a poll respondents gave the fire department a rating of more than 99% in satisfaction with fire services. The Chief gave Lois Gunter the award for Citizen of the Year. In an extraordinary situation on November 16, 2010, her husband Chuck suddenly slumped in his chair. Lois immediately called 911 and performed CPR perfectly as directed by the 911 operator. When EMS arrived Chuck’s heart had actually stopped. However, thanks to Lois, and the sure swift work of the first responders, Chuck’s heart responded to the CPR and drugs administered by the rescue team. Thanks to Lois and the emergency crew Chuck has been restored to health.
City Council Chairman Frank Recker formally inducted Dianna Dohm as incoming President; Roy Birkeland, Vice-President; and Cheryl Ferrara, Secretary. City Council members Jerry Gibson and Larry Magel, and City Manager Jim Riviere were also at the luncheon ceremony.
Chief Murphy said he was pleased to announce the newly installed President, Dianna Dohm, would represent the Marco Island Fire/Rescue Foundation at a conference. Dianna will discuss how to set up a Fire Foundation. The conference, held on Marco Island, is expected to bring 400 fire chiefs from all across the country.