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The Journal Gazette

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Carter Troyer, 4, sits with his father, Fort Wayne police Officer Cory Troyer, who was given the Award of Excellence at Wednesday’s awards ceremony.

  • Hernandez

Thursday, May 18, 2017 3:50 pm

Officers, citizens recognized for deeds

FWPD hosts annual awards ceremony

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette


Distinguished Service Citation

Sgt. Mark Walters; Officers Zechariah Geisleman and Scott Studebaker

Meritorious Service Citation

Sgt. Bradley Griffin; Detectives Chris Crapser, Marc Deshaies, John Helmsing, Shannon Hughes, Cameron Norris and Anthony Shefferly; Officers Jon Bonar, Keirsh Cochran, Stephen Ealing, John Nichter and Stephanie Souther

Letter of Commendation

Sgts. Samuel Adams, Mark Dolezal, Trent Farrell and Troy Jester; Detectives Arthur Billingsley, Marc Deshaies, Shane Heath, Joshua Hartup, Shannon Hughes, Larry Tague and Stephen Scott Tegtmeyer; Officers Chad Wagner, Chris Hoffman and Donald Lewis

Citizen Service Citation

Dr. Deborah McMahan, Susie Cisney, Fiorella Felton, Antonio Hernandez, Michael Hull, Alice Jordan-Miles, Diane Spiller, Joseph Fairchild, Nour Makhzoun and Michelle Komprood

Mayor’s Certificate of Excellence

Joseph Fairchild, Nour Makhzoun and Michelle Komprood

Award of Excellence

Sgt. Hollis Burton; Detective George Nicklow; Officers Mark Bell, Michael Bell, Christopher Brautzsch, Christopher Felton, David Hochstetler, Chris Hoffman, Quinton Hunter, Scotty Lewis, Nicholas Lichtsinn, Mark Lowden, Jhormy Martinez, John Nichter, Barry Pruser, Ricardo Robles, Stephanie Souther, Cory Troyer and Matthew Wilson

Community Service Award

Sgt. Mitchell McKinney, Detective Liza Anglin; Officers Craig Fairchild and Benjamin Young

It was just past midnight Nov. 5 when Antonio Hernandez was driving home to his apartment off Reed Road. A woman emerged in front of his car, bleeding, mostly naked and badly beaten.

When she asked him for help, he let her get into his car without regard to his own safety. He called police who arrived quickly, he said.

For his actions, Hernandez, 25, was given a Citizen Service Citation at the Fort Wayne Police Department’s annual awards ceremony Wednesday night at the Public Safety Academy.

Not only was Hernandez grateful for the certificate that recognized his “selfless act of kindness,” he was relieved that the man who beat the woman was brought to justice.

He wasn’t aware when he let the victim into his car that she had escaped a masked assailant who had attacked her, beaten her with a gun, raped her and threatened to kill her.

Hernandez, a South Side High School graduate and waiter at a Cebolla’s restaurant, probably saved the woman’s life, said Michael Joyner, public information officer for the Fort Wayne Police Department and the evening’s master of ceremonies.

There were other tales of kindness, bravery and valor at the annual awards ceremony that honored about 50 police officers and 10 private citizens.

Several awards went to officers and citizens saving lives.

Detective John Helmsing was working a shift at the Three Rivers Festival when volunteer bartender Graig Vanolmen, 53, collapsed behind his station. Recognizing Vanolmen was in cardiac arrest and had no pulse, Helmsing started administering chest compressions while Officer John Nichter ran to get an automated external defibrillator.

Helmsing said at the ceremony that he was just doing what he was supposed to do.

“This is what the department spends a lot of time training us for,” Helmsing said. “Oftentimes, seconds count.”

He had not seen Varolmen since the incident, but Varolmen attended the ceremony, grateful to be alive.

Officer Stephanie Souther received the award of excellence and a meritorious service citation.

On Feb. 15, she also saved a woman’s life after she was called to a disturbance at a car sales lot on West Main Street.

At the scene, she fought off and eventually subdued a man who admitted to drinking at several bars. When other officers arrived, Souther returned to the car lot and found the man’s victim, a woman whose head had been smashed into the pavement, lying between some vehicles.

The awards are given “because as (police officers are) running into danger, other people flee,” said Police Chief Steve Reed, who also said that unlike other communities, Fort Wayne offers “tremendous support” to his department.