BALTIMORE COUNTY — The Chesapeake Gateway Chamber of Commerce held its annual Salute to Hometown Heroes on November 21 at Martin’s East where 25 first responders from local police, fire, military and hospital personnel were honored for their commitment to protecting our communities.
“This was the Chamber’s 12th year honoring our local fire, police, hospital and military personnel, who put their lives at risk for us every day,” Sharon Kihn Executive Director of the Chesapeake Gateway Chamber of Commerce said.
“The stories about these heroes are so moving, and they are so grateful for the recognition. It truly is a very special evening. We sincerely appreciate the risks and sacrifices made by these men and women who serve our community, our state, and our country.”
The Avenue News would like to spotlight just some of the brave men and women who were honored at this year’s event and say thank you to all first responders for their commitment to keep our communities safe and prosperous.
BALTIMORE COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT
Essex Precinct 11
Officer Dia K. Lawrence
Officer Lawrence has been a Baltimore County Police Officer since 2016. He continuously exemplifies the core values of integrity, fairness, and service to the citizens of Baltimore County. He is always proactive in his patrols, which allows him to have an omnipresence in areas of high criminal activity. He always investigates his calls to the fullest extent of his ability, regardless of the solvability factors. He impartially enforces laws to assist in keeping crime from occurring.
Officer Lawrence has stepped up as a mentor toward younger officers to lead them in the right direction. He continuously conducts himself as an officer with more tenure. Officer Lawrence sets the bar high for himself and casts a great example for all of his peers.
One recent example of Officer Lawrence’s work ethic was on September 9. Earlier that day, a suspicious incident was being investigated regarding a van loaded with fuel parked in a garage in Baltimore City. A visit from the President of the United States was scheduled in the Baltimore area within the next few days.
At the start of his shift, Officer Lawrence responded to a suspicious vehicle at a gas station. A citizen advised that the driver was pumping fuel into the inside of the van. Officer Lawrence located the van exiting the gas station as he arrived. Upon stopping the vehicle, he arrested the driver for a simple license violation. This allowed him access to the vehicle to investigate the fuel that was located inside of the van. Officer Lawrence worked with local, state, and federal agencies during this investigation. Fortunately, it turned out to be an elaborate theft scheme rather than something more heinous. However, if the intentions of the suspect were more nefarious, Officer Lawrence very well could have prevented a tragedy from occurring.
White Marsh Precinct 9
Patrolman Kevin M. Thomas
Officer 1st Class Kevin Thomas is strongly recommended for the Hometown Heroes Award. Officer Thomas is a mentor and field trainer for recruits as they enter their law enforcement careers. When he isn’t patrolling the streets within the Perry Hall/White Marsh area, Officer Thomas is organizing and coordinating tactical and marksmanship shooting activities with Department members.
On March 9, Officer Thomas responded in reference to an urgent welfare check. As the primary unit arrived on-scene, it was determined the urgent check was for a single-vehicle motorcycle collision. The primary unit immediately recognized the operator suffered an extreme injury involving a severed limb with significant blood loss. Officer Thomas ordered the group of motorcycle club members to back away, then applied a tourniquet to the injured subject. Officer Thomas was able to stop the blood flow loss immediately. EMS personnel at the incident scene confirmed that Officer Thomas’ actions were necessary to prevent further injury or death.
On March 19, Officer Thomas responded to a past threat call for service. Officer Thomas’ initial investigation determined the complainant and her spouse were going through a separation, and the spouse had recently made statements to the complainant that he had the means to get rid of her. Recognizing the potential of immediate danger of causing personal injury to another person by a firearm, he then compiled and submitted an application for an extreme risk protective order (ERPO) to the court. He was granted an ERPO by the judge. Upon service of the ERPO, Thomas recovered more than 50 firearms and nearly one ton of ammunition. The seizure, removal, transport, and packaging of the firearms and ammunition required Officer Thomas to collaborate with CIB-Gun Squad.
In summary, Officer Thomas demonstrated several significant contributions that were critical to providing exceptional service to the community.
Parkville Precinct 8
Police Officer First Class Erik Scott
Officer Erik Scott is a selfless public servant who has demonstrated a long-term commitment to giving back to our community. He joined the Police Department in 2002 and is currently assigned to the Parkville Precinct. Officer Scott transferred to the Parkville Precinct in November 2018 and has since been recognized as the Parkville Precinct Officer of the Month on two separate occasions.
Officer Scott is a Field Training Officer (FTO) and takes his duties as an FTO seriously. He trains his recruits with enthusiasm and vigor. His work ethic is unparalleled. In addition to his duties as a patrol officer, Officer Scott serves as a member of the Dignitary Witness Protection Team and has been with the team for over eight years. On top of his work with the Police Department, he gives back to his community through volunteer work.
Officer Scott is an Eagle Scout and currently mentors youth in the Boy Scouts of America as an Assistant Scout Master/Scout Leader. He served for 20 years with the Army National Guard and obtained the rank of Sergeant First Class. During his time with the National Guard, Officer Scott was deployed overseas to Iraq in 2008. He was deployed after 9-11 to provide security at a nuclear power plant, and he also was deployed in 2005 to assist with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Officer Scott is a valuable asset to the Baltimore County Police Department and the citizens of Baltimore County.
BALTIMORE COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT
Perry Hall Station 55
EMT/Firefighter Victoria Ohanna
Victoria Ohanna joined the Baltimore County Fire Department as a Probationary Firefighter in 2014 at the age of 30. Upon graduating from the academy, she was assigned to Golden Ring Fire Station as an EMT/ Firefighter. Victoria was then assigned to Chase Fire Station for a brief period before being transferred to Perry Hall, where she currently works. Victoria has been consistently motivated and demonstrates a profound eagerness to expand her skillset within the department. She appreciates that her role in the fire department is a reflection of hard work and initiative.
The fire service has provided an opportunity for Victoria to be involved in the community, set personal goals, and challenge herself. Victoria earned her Paramedic license early in her career and is currently training to promote as a Fire Apparatus Driver Operator.
She also has been involved as an ambassador for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event since 2014. As the Captain for the Baltimore County Fire Department Team, Victoria has taken pride in representing the Department, assisting in organizing the team for race day, and motivating her coworkers to support the cause. To date, the Baltimore County Fire Department Team, under the leadership of Victoria, has raised nearly $30,000 in donations and t-shirt sales toward the fight to cure Breast Cancer.
Victoria has continuously demonstrated her initiative and dedication by becoming a positive example and making a difference in her community. I am honored to nominate Victoria Ohanna as this year’s Hometown Hero from the Perry Hall Fire Station 55.
Chase Station 54
Fire Lieutenant Wendy Stallings
Wendy Stallings is a Fire Lieutenant for the Baltimore County Fire Department, assigned to Station 54 in Chase. She is a 2002 Graduate of Kenwood High School Sports Science Academy. Lieutenant Stallings started her time in the Fire Department as a Volunteer at the Bowleys Quarters Volunteer Fire Department in 2003, and is still an active member today. She was hired by Baltimore County Fire Department as an EMT in 2005.
Throughout her career, she has been an EMT/ Firefighter, Fire Specialist, and Fire Lieutenant. She has served in Chase, Middle River, Edgemere, Golden Ring, Hillendale, and served as an Instructor at the Fire Rescue Academy. Lieutenant Stallings also has served as a mentor to new recruits, as well as a field coach for new EMTs. She currently is studying for the upcoming Captain’s test.
Lieutenant Stallings is married and has four children—three boys and one girl, ranging in age from 8 to 16. She spends most of her free time attending sporting events, watching her children play soccer, baseball, and dance. Lieutenant Stallings resides in Bowleys Quarters, where she is a lifelong resident. She is proud to serve the community where she grew up and currently lives.
Middle River Station 12
Probationary Firefighter Chase Barnett
Probationary Firefighter Chase Barnett has been employed by the Baltimore County Fire Department for a year and a half. During this time, he has completed an 18-week fire and rescue academy, completed the requirements to be a “backup” Engine Driver/Operator, and is currently in the process of becoming an Emergency Medical Technician-Driver Attendant. PFF Barnett continues to show his dedication and compassion to this service by volunteering. For approximately 10 years, he volunteered with departments in York, Pennsylvania, and is currently volunteering with the White Marsh Volunteer Fire Department.
To describe the amount of compassion, pride, and dedication PFF Barnett has, he is always there to help with any tasks that are needed, such as station housework, equipment checks, and daily station operations. PFF Barnett displays a desire to always want to learn and to continue to find new and better ways to perform the job, such as training and continuing education. He is a great example of wanting to be the best employee possible.
Barnett has shown a level of performance on the fire ground that exceeds the expectations of a Probationary Firefighter. To give an example of that, PFF Barnett was assigned as the nozzle firefighter on a first due house fire. During the event, PFF Barnett completed all tasks that were necessary to extinguish the fire. In addition, he continued to assist with other operations such as ventilation and overhaul. He was able to complete his responsibility on the fire ground and was willing to assist in other responsibilities.
Barnett has displayed what a Hometown Hero should be. With the compassion, pride, and dedication that he has for the fire department and his community, he is highly qualified for this honor.
Parkville Station 10
EMT/Firefighter Joshua L. Colbourn
EMT/Firefighter Joshua Colbourn has been on my shift since early 2016. Within the first couple of weeks, I realized that Josh was a team player. He is always willing to pitch in around the station without being asked. Josh, without question, is always the first one on our shift to complete any required training that is assigned to us.
As an EMT/Firefighter, he is able to perform and support all the necessary duties and tasks needed on responses. Whether an EMS call, fire call, public event, or just everyday routine station duties assigned, Josh approaches each with an extremely positive attitude. He is always at work early and working before many of us even enter the station for a shift. In addition to our everyday training, Josh recently completed Pumps class and Aerial Operator class (on his own time) offered by The Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute, which will allow him to begin the process of driving fire engines and ladder trucks. His normal duties allow him to drive ambulances and brush trucks, which he does in a very safe manner. Josh is a well-rounded and genuine individual, and we are grateful to work alongside him.
Essex Station 7
Paramedic/Firefighter Ryan Everson
Meet Ryan Everson, Paramedic/Firefighter for the Baltimore County Fire Department. He is a 2006 Graduate of North Harford High School. Paramedic/Firefighter Everson started his path in the Fire/EMS service in 2011 as a volunteer in Harford County. He was hired by Baltimore County Fire Department as a Paramedic in 2014. He served in Randallstown station for a brief time, before coming to Essex station, where he has spent over 5 years. He has become cross-trained as a Firefighter as well. In addition to his primary tasks, Mr. Everson serves as an alternate EMS Lieutenant and field preceptor. For the past three years, he has been cultivating new EMS providers, providing guidance through real world training. Mr. Everson is now working toward the goal of becoming an EMS Lieutenant for Baltimore County Fire Department.
As a husband and father of two young children, he enjoys spending his free time with family. Currently residing in Harford County, Mr. Everson is a Baltimore County native, growing up primarily in the Parkville area. Paramedic Firefighter Everson is honored to serve the citizens and visitors of Essex and Baltimore County.
VOLUNTEER FIRE & RESCUE COMPANIES Middle River
Lieutenant George Dulina, Jr.
The Middle River Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company would like to nominate Lieutenant George Dulina, Jr. for the Hometown Heroes Award. Lieutenant Dulina has been a member of the Middle River Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company for 48 years. During that time, Lieutenant Dulina has held various officer positions. Today, Lieutenant Dulina is one of the individuals responsible for ensuring that our apparatus is serviced and maintained in a ready state in order to be able to respond on calls. No matter what issue our equipment is faced with, Lieutenant Dulina is involved in making sure it is quickly addressed.
His dedication has not only been to the Middle River Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company, but also to the Baltimore County Fire Department, where he served for 33 years before retiring. Lieutenant Dulina is still very active in his operational response as one of the department’s top responders. Day and night, when the company is alerted for an emergency call, Lieutenant Dulina will respond to the station to ensure there is enough staffing to respond. Lieutenant Dulina is the backbone and glue of our Maintenance Division, and he more than keeps the sail afloat in our daily operations. For these reasons, Middle River Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company has chosen to nominate Lieutenant George Dulina, Jr. for this year’s Hometown Hero Award.
VOLUNTEER FIRE & RESCUE COMPANIES Essex
Assistant Chief John J. Alban III
John has been a member since 2001 with Hyde Park Volunteer Fire Department and then Essex Volunteer Fire Company, upon the consolidation of Hyde Park, Middlebor- ough, and Rockaway Beach VFCs. He has worked his way up through the ranks from Sergeant, to Lieutenant, Captain and now Assistant Chief. Throughout the years, John has always been among the top responders, putting in countless hours for emergency calls, training, meetings, work details and community events.