A year after an exemplary firefighter lost a long, hard-fought battle against cancer, the Edmond Fire Department honored his service and memory.
During an awards banquet Monday evening at the Downtown Community Center, an initiative of Fire Chief Jake Rhoades to recognize quality personnel in the agency, members who went to Moore in response to the May 20, 2013, tornado were also recognized.
Additionally, Plaza Towers Principal Amy Simpson, wife of Edmond firefighter Lindy Simpson, received the inaugural John Werhun Award, named in memory of the public servant who died a year ago Sunday. The award is given to someone who displays fortitude, determination, discipline and commitment to others.
Werhun’s widow Joyce Werhun accepted the Firefighter Cross. EFD spokeswoman Jenny Monroe said it was the first time for the agency to hand out the award.
Emcee Kelly Ogle said tradition dictates that each point of the cross represents a trait of a good firefighter: Pride, honor, charity, loyalty, gallantry, generosity, dexterity of service and protection of the weak.
“Firefighters are easily viewed as a hero outside the station walls, but inside the station is where you saw a glimpse of John Werhun’s true heroic nature,” Ogle said. “John lived out each one of the characteristics of the Firefighter’s Cross.”
Rhoades said Werhun was a dedicated Edmond firefighter for 19 years.
“We remember John cared deeply for his brother firefighters and was ready to go the extra mile for them,” Rhoades said.
Many other awards were handed out. They included:
• Thirteen members came forward to receive the Steve Begley Distinguished Service Award;
• Lindy Simpson received the Medal of Honor for his efforts during the response to the Moore tornado;
• Three groups of individuals received the Meritorious Service award: Justin Mann, Luke Gregory, Courtney Powell and Joe Elam; Chris Denton; and Euel Davis, Doug Hall, Greg Westermier, Travis Haddock, Ryan Barrett, Chris Channel, Doug Benne and Brian Davis.
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