From left, Lt. Craig Strauss, Sgt. Scott Gardner, firefighter Matthew McEveney, Royal Oak resident Jeffrey Ryder, firefighter Travis McPherson, firefighter Ryan Edwards and firefighter Greg Oliverio pose for a photo after the first responders received lifesaving awards for saving Ryder’s life in April.

From left, Lt. Craig Strauss, Sgt. Scott Gardner, firefighter Matthew McEveney, Royal Oak resident Jeffrey Ryder, firefighter Travis McPherson, firefighter Ryan Edwards and firefighter Greg Oliverio pose for a photo after the first responders received lifesaving awards for saving Ryder’s life in April.

Photo provided by Carol Schwanger


Royal Oak Fire Department distributes annual awards

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published October 16, 2018

 Sgt. Richard Pearson, left, and  Sgt. Chris Lippo, right, receive meritorious  service awards for their coordination during a large house fire on Washington Avenue June 16.

Sgt. Richard Pearson, left, and Sgt. Chris Lippo, right, receive meritorious service awards for their coordination during a large house fire on Washington Avenue June 16.

Photo provided by Carol Schwanger

 Royal Oak Fire Chief David  Cummins, right, shakes the hand of Capt. Dan Phillips, who received a meritorious service award Oct. 8 for his efforts as EMS coordinator.

Royal Oak Fire Chief David Cummins, right, shakes the hand of Capt. Dan Phillips, who received a meritorious service award Oct. 8 for his efforts as EMS coordinator.

Photo provided by Carol Schwanger

 Cummins, left, discusses why Fire Marshal Andy Blevins won a meritorious service award during the Oct. 8 Royal Oak City Commission meeting.

Cummins, left, discusses why Fire Marshal Andy Blevins won a meritorious service award during the Oct. 8 Royal Oak City Commission meeting.

Photo provided by Carol Schwanger

ROYAL OAK — During the Oct. 8 Royal Oak City Commission meeting, Fire Chief David Cummins honored members of the department with five meritorious service awards and six lifesaving awards.

Cummins said the Fire Department’s awards committee meets quarterly to discuss instances of fire personnel going above and beyond the call of duty, and that he planned to continue distributing the awards in October, which is National Fire Prevention Month.

“For us and these guys, in particular, it’s kind of hard to give them awards,” he said. “They don’t like getting awards, especially for what they consider to be just doing their job.”

Cummins presented lifesaving awards to Lt. Craig Strauss, Sgt. Scott Gardner, and firefighters Greg Oliverio, Ryan Edwards, Travis McPherson and Matthew McEveney for an incident that occurred in April.

He said the crew responded to a report from a patient’s fiancee that he had gone into cardiac arrest.

“They went into action, delivered three unsynchronized shocks, initiated CPR and did all the things we do — put the drugs on board, got the patient loaded, got pulses back,” Cummins said.

Cummins said the resident’s heart stopped once again during the ambulance ride to the hospital and that he “crashed again” at the hospital, but he is now doing well, thanks to the efforts of the crew.

He had the patient, Jeffrey Ryder, who attended the Oct. 8 meeting, stand up to be recognized.

Cummins handed out meritorious service awards to Sgt. Chris Lippo, Sgt. Rich Pierson and Sgt. Sean Wilson for their actions during a June 16 house fire on Washington Avenue.

The fire did not immediately get reported, and when firefighters arrived, it had already consumed the back of the home, Lippo said. 

“It was one of those days in June where it was 93, 94 degrees at 10 o’clock at night with 90 percent humidity — really, some of the worst conditions that you can have for our particular job,” Cummins said. “(The sergeants) took care of our men. They rehabbed them properly, they hydrated them properly and they didn’t let any buildings besides the original building burn.”

Lippo said the homeowner was inside the home at the time, but she was able to get out safely, and firefighters made sure no one overheated by coordinating cool-off periods inside an air-conditioned ambulance for four hours.

Capt. Dan Phillips received a meritorious service award for his dedication and innovation as the department’s EMS coordinator, including posting need-to-know information above the urinals.

“We thought it was funny at the time, but when you try to get information to firemen, it’s not easy,” Cummins said. “He has taken that office and revamped it to an entirely new standard.”

Lastly, Fire Marshal Andy Blevins received a meritorious service award for his efficiency, competence and attention to detail.

“The building that is going on (in the city) is unprecedented. All of those plans go through this guy’s desk at every single point,” Cummins said. “When he has to do investigations, that takes four or five days out of the week that he can’t do other things.”

He said Blevins works so efficiently “you barely know he’s there,” and that he rarely has free time to take a vacation.

“Thank you to our entire Fire Department — the men and women who serve this city bravely with distinction,” Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier said. “We appreciate everything that you do.”