SIDNEY — The Sidney Department of Fire & Emergency Services handed out service awards and presented recent promotions during the Sidney City Council meeting Monday evening.
Sidney Firefighter Mike Utz and his wife Shannon were recognized by Fire Chief Chad Hollinger for performing “selfless acts of service as they successfully disrupted a domestic violence/assault near their home” in July 2021. Mike was awarded the Fire Chief’s Commendation Award, and his wife Shannon (who could not attend the meeting) was given the city’s Life Saver Award.
The couple heard the disturbance and a female yelling for help, Hollinger told council. Mike made his way towards the incident while Shannon called 911 to notify the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office.
As Mike cautiously approached the scene, Hollinger said, he observed a male assaulting the female he heard calling for help. After observing the scene appeared safe to approach, Mike announced his presence and the male fled the scene. The assailant was later apprehended. Mike stayed with the female until deputies arrived.
“Firefighter Mike Utz distinguished himself when he intervened in a dangerous domestic situation near his home. Firefighter Utz and his wife heard the female calling out for help and took action. Firefighter Utz approached the situation cautiously and upon witnessing the assault, he intervened. The male assailant fled the scene and was later apprehended. Due to the selfless actions of Firefighter Utz, the physical injuries the female received were diminished. He is hereby awarded the Sidney Department of Fire and Emergency Services Fire Chief’s Commendation,” Hollinger said. “The deputy chief and I thank you for all that you do.”
“Shannon Utz demonstrated concern for another, above what is normally expected, when she activated 911 and summoned assistance for the female victim of domestic violence,” Hollinger continued. “Mrs. Utz provided clear and accurate information to the Auglaize County dispatch center that resulted in a rapid response from Auglaize County Sheriff’s deputies to the scene. While her husband investigated the disturbance, Mrs. Utz remained calm and kept herself, her home, and her family safe. She is hereby awarded the Sidney Department of Fire and Emergency Services Life Saver Award.”
Utz accepted his award, and Shannon’s award in her absence. He expressed gratitude for the recognition, and then all in attendance rose and gave a round of applause for their actions.
Hollinger next introduced two the new promotions of Assistant Chief Jason Truesdale and Lt. Jeff Simon, due to the retirement of Assistant Chief Mark Barga in August. Promotional testing was conducted, and in October the Civil Service Commission met to certify the results.
“It gives me great pleasure to present to you, Assistant Fire Chief Jason Truesdale and Lt. Jeff Simon,” Hollinger said before giving details about the two men.
Simon is 2011 graduate of Russia High School. He joined the department on March 24, 2014. Simon has received numerous records of exceptional performance and is the current Shelby County Hazardous Materials Team chief. He will be assigned to the fire prevention division beginning in January 2022. Simon resides in the Russia area.
“The Shelby County Hazmat Team has flourished under his leadership,” Hollinger said. “Jeff just reported to the Hazmat advisory board last week that the team now stands alone as a Type II Hazmat Team in the state of Ohio. It has been a number of years since we can say that.”
Truesdale is a 1991 graduate of Shawnee High School. He joined the department on Feb. 17, 1997. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in January 2016. During his service to the city of Sidney, Hollinger said Truesdale has received numerous accolades. His personnel file contains many records of exceptional performance. He has received two unit citations and is one of only two department members who have received the Medal of Valor, the highest department award.
“Assistant Chief Truesdale is a proven leader and his years of service coupled with his work ethic will serve him well in his new role,” Hollinger said. “Jason has really devoted himself to technical rescue throughout his career. He has been on a number of high profile rescues. He is one of only two members, ever, in the history of the department to receive the Medal of Valor, the highest award that a member of the department can receive. He received that from a water rescue that the department engaged into in 2015.”
Truesdale is the shift commander of B-crew and the chief of special operations for the department. He and his wife, Stephanie, live in the Sidney area with their three daughters.
After praising Simon and Truesdale and all of the members of Sidney Fire, all in attendance again rose to give another round of applause.