First Responders Honored at the 20th GGCC Annual Public Safety Awards (VIDEO)

The Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce honored first responders on Aug. 14 at its annual public safety awards.

Members from Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Paramedic Engine 728, City of Gaithersburg Police Department, Montgomery County Police Department 5th and 6th District Stations, and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office were recognized for their bravery and commitment to save lives and keep the community safe.

“One main thing that awards like this show is the good work that they’re doing and is something that they are doing in the regular basis. …We want to ensure the public that on the regular basis good work like this is being done,” said Montgomery County Assistant Chief Darryl McSwain.

The stories some called “heartbreaking” like the scene of a downed aircraft in the residential neighborhood off of Snouffer School Road in Montgomery Village. The area was close to the Montgomery County Airpark.

On Dec. 8, 2014, Police Officer Michael Simpson responded to the scene of the crash on what he said was “once in a career call.”

“Knowing that I was relatively closed, I started to going there as quickly as I could. When I saw a cloud of black smoke, I knew I was close,” Simpson said.

The officer was the first on the scene followed by personnel from the Paramedic Engine 728 from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service.

“The house by that time was fully engulfed. Neighbors [said], they thought that someone was still in the house. It was a mother with two children. She was home on maternity leave,” Simpson said.

This plane crash killed a mother, two children, and three men and it is just one of the many stories where chamber officials said officers “went beyond the call of duty.”

GGCC Public Safety AwardsSimpson received a Citation of Bravery along with police officers John McGaha, Stephen DesLauriers, and Julia Chesley.

These and other first responders said they were humbled by the honors awarded to them on Friday. But they said it was a team effort and “everyone” deserves recognition.

Besides citations for bravery, other awards given during the event included Medal of Valor, Meritorious Service Citation, and Distinguished Service Citation.



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Aline Barros

About Aline Barros

Aline Barros is a multimedia reporter and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media. She can be reached at and on Twitter at @AlineBarros2.


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