Sunday, July 23, 2000

Clermont firefighter receives accolades

Volunteer donates prize to township

By Reid Forgrave
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        When Patricia Peck was honored last week as the Gold Star Chili Greater Cincinnati Firefighter of the Year, she was on top of the world.

        And true to her volunteer roots, Mrs. Peck donated her $1,000 in prize money back to her Monroe Township (Clermont County) Fire Department.

        She had been a fire department volunteer for 17 years when, five years ago, she decided to become a working firefighter, going into and battling fires. It's dangerous, she said, but she loves it.

        “You don't think about it (when firefighting),” she said. “You just go. It's in your blood.”

        Her department will use the $1,000 to buy a CPR mannequin that will be used for medical services and public CPR training.

        In all, Mrs. Peck has spent 22 years — more than half her life — as a volunteer with Monroe Township's emergency medical services department.

        “It keeps me from doing housework,” she said.

        Mrs. Peck is the first woman and the first Clermont County firefighter to win the award, which began in 1995.

        “This really puts Monroe (Township) on the map,” said Ralph Flynn, a Monroe Township trustee. “Considering our size (about 9,200 people), it's a huge deal. And I'm tickled for Pattie.”

        Mr. Flynn has a good reason for being so appreciative of Mrs. Peck's services. In 1995, he had a heart attack. His wife called 911, and before she was off the phone, the EMS team was there and helped save his life.

        Mrs. Peck had helped to train that team, Mr. Flynn said.

        She's also involved with youth fire-prevention programs. She goes to local schools for fire-safety programs and heads Fire Prevention Week at Monroe Elementary School. She is also a Juvenile Fire Setter counselor, intervening with youths who have a history of setting fires.

        Bob Blasing, a member of the board of trustees at the Cincinnati Fire Museum, attended Mrs. Peck's award luncheon and expressed appreciation for firefighters like her.

        “Not every department has someone who goes the extra mile like her,” Mr. Blasing said.


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