Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird today will present the Mayor's Award of Excellence for June to the eight members of Lincoln Fire and Rescue (LFR) who serve on Nebraska Task Force One (NE-TF1). The Task Force is an Urban Search and Rescue team based at LFR. The award will be presented at 3 p.m. at the beginning of the City Council meeting at the County-City Building, 555 S. 10th Street. The monthly award recognizes City employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the City.
LFR Captain Daniel Ripley nominated all members of NE-TF1 in the category of valor for their heroic actions in responding to March flooding in the areas of Columbus and Monroe, Nebraska. The Lincoln Fire and Rescue members of NE-TF1 are:
On March 14, the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency activated NE-TF1 to help rescue trapped flood victims. Ripley said it was one of the most challenging environments the Task Force has seen with winds of more than 60 mph, temperatures in the 20s, intense water current, and debris such as vehicles and huge ice chunks moving downstream. At times, the conditions were too dangerous for the rescuers to remain in the water, and rescues had to be conducted by helicopter. Despite these conditions, NE-TF1 was able to rescue 18 civilians and six animals over two days.
Ripley wrote that the task force members acted with "the utmost bravery and heroism, placing themselves in harm's way to save the lives of others."
The award can only be presented to NE-TF1 members who are current LFR employees. The Mayor will also recognize five other NE-TF1 members who were part of the operation - Steve Dolezal, LFR retiree; Ben Bolte, Papillion Fire Department; and Tom Jones, Kevin Meschede and Thad Greiner from the Omaha Fire Department.
The other categories in which employees can be nominated are safety, productivity, loss prevention and customer relations. Consideration also may be given to nominations that demonstrate self-initiated accomplishments or those completed outside of the nominee's job description. All City employees are eligible for the award except for elected and appointed officials. Individuals or teams can be nominated by supervisors, peers, subordinates and the public. Nomination forms are available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: mayor) or from department heads, employee bulletin boards or the Human Resources Department, which oversees the awards program.
All nominations are considered by the Mayor's Award of Excellence Committee, which includes a representative with each union and a non-union representative appointed by the Mayor. The eight June award winners receive a day off with pay and a plaque. All monthly winners and nominees are eligible to receive the annual award, which comes with a $250 gift certificate, two days off with pay and a plaque.