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July 29, 2013

Warren honors CERT leaders

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

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Warren honors CERT leaders
From left, Warren Fire Commissioner Skip McAdams, Police Commissioner Jere Green, CERT co-director Glen Kielbowicz, Warren Mayor Jim Fouts, CERT director Kevin Furgal and CERT co-director Mike Riley spoke about the Community Emergency Response Team during an event recognizing its contributions to public safety July 17.

WARREN — It’s often not the most glamorous job.

They’re the men and women called to the scenes of accidents, gas leaks, downed power lines and other neighborhood emergencies. They help to keep people safe, but when someone gets hurt, they’re trained to give first aid.

By doing their jobs — they’re all volunteers — they allow the city’s full-time cops and firefighters to do theirs.

On July 17, city administrators recognized three leaders of Warren’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and offered words of thanks to all 86 members of the group, formed in 2002 after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

“We’re obviously honoring them for dedication, service to the community and for being willing to stand up on a moment’s notice,” Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said. “Without their help, the police wouldn’t be able to take on more serious crime issues.”

Warren Police Commissioner Jere Green said he’s seen Warren’s CERT group evolve into an “outstanding organization” since its formation.

“It’s well-respected, it’s well-trained, it’s well-used, and the most important thing is you’ve incorporated the trust of the troops,” Green said. “They expect you to be out there when you’re called. They recognize your confidence. They know that you’re on the job and we all work together.

“It’s thankless work, but it is recognized by us and by the troops,” Green said.

CERT co-director Glen Kielbowicz said the group’s members are trained in CPR and the operation of automated external defibrillators. He said many are amateur radio operators and spotters for the National Weather Service. They’re also trained to perform search and rescue.

“It’s been a long road and we’ve come a long way, and we wanted to prove ourselves to the city and the mayor and the fire and police departments that we can provide a service to the city of Warren’s residents,” Kielbowicz said. “This is all about the CERT group. It’s not about us three individuals.”

Fouts said the group had collectively volunteered more than 7,000 service hours, which has real value in cash-strapped times. He said the group is typically called out for big events, including Warren’s Birthday Bash next month.

“They perform a valuable task. Their contributions are priceless,” Fouts said.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.