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With almost 200 people on hand, the Marco Island Fire-Rescue Foundation named two recipients of the firefighter of the year award for their efforts in saving the life of a North Naples man when they were off duty.

Munier Gattas and Sergio Deleon were jointly chosen for an off-duty incident, saving the life of Ron Krawczyk, who lived across the street from the home that Gattas and his wife had recently purchased but were still working on. Deleon and his wife had come to view the home after bumping into Gattas earlier in the morning.

Deleon and his wife, Christy, a nurse, had no sooner pulled into the driveway to visit with Gattas and his wife, Margaret, when Chris Krawczyk ran across the street, shouting for help because her husband, Ron, was suffering a cardiac arrest.

Deleon ran into the Krawczyk home while Christy ran to get Munier to assist her husband at the Krawczyk residence.

Both medics would apply the lifesaving skills they had acquired as firefighter-paramedics and immediately engaged CPR efforts after ascertaining Krawczyk had no pulse and was not breathing. Once North Collier Fire-EMS arrived, they utilized their defibrillator to establish a heartbeat and began administrating lifesaving medications to Krawczyk.

Ron Krawczyk would eventually receive three stents and is well on his way to recovery, but recalls nothing of the incident on that fateful day in July.

Hideaway residents honored

When Don Camplese and his wife, Kay, went to a social at the Hideaway Beach Club last year, they never envisioned that a concerted effort of three of his friends, all physicians and two members of the Hideaway Beach staff would come together to save his life.

However, because of that team effort, Camplese is doing just fine after having cardiac surgery in Naples.

The entire group was honored at the Fire Foundation annual meeting and received a standing ovation from the assembled crowd.

“Ron may not be in his chair today at this event, but he’s in this chair at home thanks to the wonderful efforts of all of these great people. Thank you all so much,” said his wife, Kay, as she addressed the gathering.

The theme of the event was “A Celebration of Achievement” and attendees listened at vice chairman Barbra Murphy present a list of accomplishments attained over the last year.

“We have had an exceptionally busy in 2015 and have much to be thankful for,” said Murphy.

Among them were a promotional ceremony for a longtime department member to the rank of battalion chief, and the pinning of badges on new members of the department.

Potential EMS changes

In an emotional talk, Fire-Rescue Chief Mike Murphy plead with members of the public to stay informed and involved in the issues revolving around the potential changes of which agency will be in charge of EMS in the future.

Murphy explained the issues as they have unfolded to date and the ongoing dispute between the North Collier Fire District and the Collier County Commissioners. He explained how that might impact service that island residents receive as well as the financial impact that might occur.

At the end of his presentation, Murphy that the department was dialing 911 to solicit the public’s help in contacting elected representatives to tell them of their displeasure with the potential changes.

Fire-rescue promotions, badge pinnings

Tom Bogan Jr., longtime member of the Marco Fire/Rescue Department, was promoted late last year to the rank of battalion chief. It was at the annual meeting that the promotion became very personal to Bogan when his father, Thomas Bogan Sr., handled the honors of proudly pinning the new bugle insignias on his son’s uniform.

The traditions of the fire service run deep within the Bogan family, with several generations having been involved in Bogan’s home state of New Jersey.

Also receiving his promotional badge pinning was Scott Corey for his promotion to captain. Corey has been a longtime firefighter/paramedic in the Collier County area and has been on the job in Marco since 2012.

Corey’s wife couldn’t be present, but he would receive the pinning from newly promoted Battalion Chief Tom Bogan.

Badge pinning

In recognition of their new positions within the department, firefighters Grady Harrison and Juan Cabezas were pinned with their badges and recognized as the two newest members of the department.

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