Valley Preferred Spirit of Courage

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2024 Event

Battalion Chief John Salka Spirit of Courage speaker


Valley Preferred Spirit of Courage 2024

Monday, October 14th, 2024

Time: 5:00 pm

Location: Billera Hall, DeSales University
2755 Station Ave
Center Valley, PA 18034

Honoring individuals and groups in Eastern PA who performed exceptionally courageous acts to save someone from death or serious injury from any fire source. Honorees include both civilians and first responders. The Burn Prevention Network invites you to the Valley Preferred Spirit of Courage Award Celebration.

Battalion Chief John Salka (ret.) will be speaking at this year’s event. Salka is a 40 plus year veteran of the Fire Service. He served FDNY for over 33 years, the last 15 years as battalion chief in the 18th battalion in the Bronx. Chief Salka received the FDIC Lifetime Achievement Award in 2022. He was presented and lectured at FDIC International where he received the 2001 FDIC Training Achievement Award for his “Get Out Alive” firefighter survival training program. He is a New York certified fire instructor and lectures internationally.

He served as the co-lead instructor for the H.O.T. Firefighter Safety and Survival Program at FDIC for over 10 years and is the co-host for the podcasts “The Command Post,” heard on Fire Engineering Magazine’s website, and “Old School: Searching Above the Fire” heard on Apple Podcasts.

He is the author of the best-selling books First In-Last Out: Leadership Lessons from the New York Fire Department, The Engine Company, and co-author of Five Alarm Leadership: From Firehouse to Fireground, published by Fire Engineering Books & Videos. He has served as a volunteer firefighter his entire career.

COMPLETE THIS FORM to be added to the invitation mailing list.

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2023 Event

Valley Preferred Spirit of Courage Burn Prevention


Thank you to everyone who attended or watched the livestream of this year’s event.  We look forward to seeing you next year.




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2023 Awardees

Spirit of Courage Awards 

Reading, Marion Street – 10/15/2022
Firefighter/EMT Garry Clarke & Firefighter/EMT Joshua Green


Reading, Schuylkill Avenue – 10/29/2022
Firefighter/EMT Kevin Ayers, Firefighter/EMT Kieran Dolan, & Firefighter/EMT Ronald Frey

Scranton, Hickory Street – 11/20/2022
Firefig hter Nick Azzarelli, Firefighter Lieutenant Joseph Chesek, Firefighter Kyle Saldonis & Firefighter Captain Matthew McDonald


Pottsville, Arch Street – 5/9/2023
Police Officer Michael Hrebik

Palmer Township, Main Street – 5/21/2022
Deputy Fire Chief Jim Alercia, Fire Battalion Chief Ken Sobieski, Police Officer John Billiard, Police Officer Evan Goldstein, Police Officer Kyle Kromer, Police Officer Maurice Burton, Emergency Medical Technician, Christopher Finan, Jr., Paramedic Jeremy Slack, & Dr. Thomas W. Stauffer, DO

West Penn Township, Clamtown Road – 12/7/2022
Assistant Fire Chief Zachary T.A. Paris (Posthumous)
Firefighter Marvin Gruber (Posthumous)

Walter J Okunski Phoenix Award
Leah John

Eleos Award
Jennifer Nagle, RN (Posthumous)

Prevention Partner Award
Fire Chief James Misstishin, Sr.

Chairman’s Award
West Reading, R.M. Palmer Explosion – 3/24/2023
All First Responders involved in incident