Pictured from left: Damon Brown, Tom Levey, Jeff Roberts, Dustin Toll

Pictured from left: Damon Brown, Tom Levey, Jeff Roberts, Dustin Toll

Madison Heights Fire Department announces awards for 2023

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison-Park News | Published February 19, 2024


MADISON HEIGHTS — The fire chief of Madison Heights recently commended several individuals for their contributions to the community last year.

The department’s Civilian Citation Award went to Robb Thompson and Kyle Marchetti, for an incident that occurred at a business on Stephenson Highway around 12:30 p.m. Dec. 22.

Two fire crews from the Madison Heights Fire Department responded to a report of a person possibly choking or having a seizure. Thompson and Marchetti, both employees at the location, were already performing CPR on the patient. They had also applied an automated external defibrillator, since the patient was in a lethal cardiac rhythm.

The responding paramedics applied their own AED as well and continued to render care, restoring the patient’s pulse after about 15 minutes of advanced cardiac life support. The patient, who is also an employee at the location, was transported to Beaumont Hospital. The employee is planning on returning to work soon, according to Madison Heights Fire Chief Gregory Lelito.

He said that the efforts of Thompson and Marchetti dramatically improved the patient’s chances of survival. He also said the case illustrates the importance of businesses being ready with annual CPR and AED training for all employees, as well as the necessary equipment on-site.

“With these types of events, every second counts,” Lelito said via email.

The Madison Heights Firefighter of the Year Award went to Dustin Toll, who currently serves as a senior firefighter.

In this role, he often acts as liaison between the fire administration and firefighters. It was noted that he likes to work alongside probationary firefighters, despite his seniority, mentoring them and never using his seniority to let someone else do an undesirable job. He was also commended for his leadership in ensuring the successful completion of unit tasks or assignments.

As a hazardous materials technician, Toll has developed and conducted monthly unit training. He has also served as a peer support team member and is one of the department’s fitness instructors. Toll was also recognized for his exceptional firefighting skills, positive attitude, and the care he shows for the welfare of all department personnel.

“Dustin is a tremendous firefighter and person,” Lelito said. “He does not hesitate to take challenges head on. He shows each day that he cares about the community and his coworkers. The future of the department is in good hands with firefighters like Dustin.”

There were also two Meritorious Service Awards.

The first went to firefighter Tom Levey. He was commended for recognizing the need to improve the department’s community outreach programs. He began and led an effort to host the “Fire Friday” video series for the city’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. He has also contributed to a nationally known YouTube channel, “Heroes Next Door,” which raises awareness for firefighters, paramedics, police officers and other public safety personnel across the U.S. While he did not start that channel, he contacted the host and got him to come to Madison Heights to profile the department.

“It’s a tool to provide fire and life safety education,” Lelito said of the videos. “It gives the community a view of the services we provide to our residents.”

The other Meritorious Service Award went to Lt. Damon Brown and paramedic Jeff Roberts. They were recognized for their ongoing efforts to improve patient care, which has included monthly quality assurance and improvement reviews of the prior month’s emergency medical service reports, providing constructive feedback to personnel to help ensure proper medical care and patient documentation. According to Matt Dwyer, the fire captain who oversees the EMS division, the work of Brown and Roberts has helped make the Madison Heights Fire Department a premier EMS provider.

David Soltis, a member of the Madison Heights City Council, said he appreciates them all.

“I was an (emergency medical technician) some years ago, and my son is now a paramedic. The work can be rough — it’s a 24/7 operation, and it takes a toll on your mind and body. You see some horrific things, in terms of car accidents and stuff like that,” Soltis said. “But the (Madison Heights) firefighters and paramedics are all very dedicated. The city is certainly proud of all that they do for our community.”

Roslyn Grafstein, the mayor, noted that while several staff personnel were recognized, it takes a team effort for the department to be successful.

“Maybe more than any other profession, firefighters need to work seamlessly as a team and effectively communicate under pressure, making split-second decisions in emergency situations where there is no room for error,” Grafstein said in an email. “The dedication and hard work of our firefighting team — including paramedics, dispatch and command staff — is second to none. In the face of adversity, they come into work and for 24 hours, they are ready to put their lives on the line to keep us safe.”

Mark Bliss, the mayor pro tem, said that the Madison Heights Fire Department awards are among his favorite moments to witness on council each year.

“I cannot imagine how difficult it is to wake up in the morning not knowing what you may run into later in the day, and how they adapt in real time as issues unfold, saving the lives of people in the community. I’m also amazed at how they find time to educate the community on fire safety and other issues, preventing problems before they start,” Bliss said. “It cannot be understated how much we on the council appreciate what these men and women do every day.”