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‘First Responder of the Year’ awards presented

By Staff | Nov 26, 2014

Cape Coral’s “First Responders of the Year” have been named.

The 2014 annual awards ceremony, representing the Cape Coral Police and Fire departments and the Lee County Sheriff’s office, was held last Thursday at the FOS Furniture store on Pine Island Road. Sponsored by the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce and hosted annually by FOS Furniture, this special recognition awards ceremony was initiated by FOS Furniture’s Pat Corlew in 2002 to bring awareness to the community of the police officers, sheriff’s deputies and firefighters who risk their lives daily to protect the lives and property of Lee County and Cape Coral citizens.

Officer Christian Munoz-Luna, Fire Lt. Anthony Demos and deputies Jeff Pierot and Russell Park earned the honor.

The event, catered by Beef O’Brady’s, Bubba’s Roadhouse and Bob Evans restaurants, drew about 260 people from Chamber member businesses and from Cape police, sheriff and fire department personnel. The presenters at this year’s awards ceremony, which included gift certificates to local businesses and entertainment venues, as well as the coveted trophy plaque, were Deputy Chief of Police, Captain David Newlan, and Fire Chief, Donald Cochran.

The Cape Coral Police Department selection for the 2014 Police Officer of the Year was Munoz-Luna. In a single day, Officer Munoz-Luna exemplified the highest ideals to which police officers are dedicated, ideals expressed in the simple words, “To protect and to serve.”

The CCPD commendation recognized “the outstanding effort of Officer Christian Munoz-Luna, who on two separate calls for service on the same day, performed Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on two victims, who went into cardiac arrest, and was able to revive them.”

“Many can go an entire career and never have a confirmed save as a result of giving CPR,” police spokesperson Detective Sgt. Dana Coston stated. “On this day, Officer Munoz-Luna had two. His actions on this most exceptional of days, his calm in the face of the mortality of another, his ability to take decisive action to do what was necessary for these victims, and his caring for his fellow man, exemplify the very best of what we can ask for in our officers.”

The Cape Coral Police Department commendation of Officer Munoz-Luna concludes: “Both of these situations were very stressful, but Officer Munoz-Luna never wavered. Because of his fast response and coolness under pressure, he was able to save both of these victims from almost certain death.”

The Cape Coral Fire Department selection for the 2014 Firefighter of the Year was Demos.

“Lt. Demos is being recognized for his role in a number of critical alarms, including a traffic accident with multiple trauma alerts, the treatment of a police officer at a scene, multiple marine search and rescues at night, and care for a critically ill pediatric.” The fire department recognized Lt. Demos also for “his dedication to the training of new firefighters and paramedics,” noting that his training has made our community safer.

Demos is a paramedic FTO, boat operator and rescue diver, as well as a firefighter and in each of these roles, he is commended as follows: “When faced with critical situations, Lieutenant Demos exceeds expectations, and his efforts in educating others have saved and will save countless lives.”

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office recognized deputies Jeff Pierot (who was unable to be present) and Russell Park for “outstanding acts of heroism and bravery while engaged in active combat with an armed adversary. Their actions protected Lee County residents and visitors from further danger.” The incident, in which both deputies came under fire, occurred on Jan. 4 along southbound U.S. 41.

Cape Chamber of Commerce President Mike Quaintance, summed up the purpose of these awards simply.

“We, as citizens of Cape Coral, need to be reminded that these men and women are serving to protect our persons and property. Without their efforts chaos would reign,” he said.

For FOS, it’s a way to acknowledge the service public safety workers provide to the community, said Corlew, adding their efforts are sometimes forgotten.

“It’s just our way of saying thank you for a job well done,” he said of hosting the awards program. “It always make me feel warm and fuzzy.”