With over 170 supporters and friends in attendance, the Marco Island Fire/Rescue Foundation held its Annual Meeting at the Island Country Club on Wednesday, February 12. This will mark the 13th anniversary of the organization.
A surprised Betsy Novakorich, the retired Director of Emergency Care Services for the NCH Urgent Care Center on Marco, was honored with a presentation from the Foundation and the Marco Island Fire/Rescue Department for her longtime service to the residents of Marco Island.
The award was presented by Foundation President Dianna Dohm, and Chief of the Marco Fire Department Michael Murphy, who both complimented Novakorich for her exemplary service to the community.
Another highlight of the meeting was the announcement of the appointment of Lt. Robert Riegler as the Firefighter of the Year for 2019.
Riegler came to the department on March 3rd back in 2008, and has risen through the ranks and presently holds the job as a Rescue Lieutenant for the department.
He was nominated for that honor by Battalion Chief Scott Cory who serves as Riegler’s shift commander. Cory, who complimented Riegler’s ability to rise to any challenge, especially to those involving issues regarding more complex technical issues which allows the department personnel to do their jobs in a more efficient and time–effective manner.
Riegler has been a recipient of the prestigious Phoenix Award which recognizes first responders who have successfully provided life-saving care to sick or injured residents on the island. He has been the recipient of that award on several occasions, prior to being named Firefighter of the Year for Marco Island. His wife and four children were on hand for that award.
In addition to those two awards, Murphy announced the promotion of Jake Clemmons to the vacant Training Officer position within the department. Clemmons was a veteran of the Marion County Fire/Rescue Department in Ocala, Florida prior to coming to Marco Island 2 years ago. The position of Training Officer holds the rank of Captain within the department.
Several organizations and individuals were recognized during the meeting for their contributions to the Foundation during the meeting, including the Island Country Club, The Richards Foundation, American Travel Arrangements, “F” Troop from the Island Country Club and Progressive Auto Services and the Kelly Family.