Valley Preferred Spirit of Courage

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Burn Prevention Network, Valley Preferred and the Regional Burn Center at Lehigh Valley Hospital launched the Valley Preferred Spirit of Courage Award Program in 2005 to honor everyday heroes who risked their lives to save others from injury or death by fire; To acknowledge individuals and groups that have done an outstanding job of promoting fire safety or burn prevention education; and to recognize burn survivors who have dedicated their life to supporting others.

Honor Our Heroes
Tuesday, October 1, 2019, at 5 P.M.
Under the tent at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg
Bethlehem, Pa.
Business attire

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Meet Our Sponsors

  • Hamed Amani, MD, and Sigrid Blome-Eberwein, MD
  • Hazleton City Firefighters IAFF Local 507
  • Gregory G. Kile and Family
  • Dr. Daniel and Rochelle Lozano
  • Donald R. Miller and Granddaughter, Alexia Marie Miller
  • Joe and Karen Tracy

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Become A Sponsor

Sponsor Opportunities

Sponsorships are what enable the Valley Preferred Spirit of Courage to continue and grow. Sponsor levels range from marquee opportunities to partial Table Sponsorships. Review our current sponsorship levels:

Confirm a Sponsorship

Reserve your sponsorship for this year by clicking here and completing the commitment form.

Want More Information?

Click here to have a representative of the Burn Prevention Network contact you to discuss Sponsorship Opportunities.

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Meet Our Heroes

Spirit of Courage Award Winners: Deputy Chief Timothy Musser, Southern Berks Regional EMS; Fire Chief Timothy Deamer, Keystone Fire Company no. 1 of Shillington

Police, EMS and firefighters arrived to find a woman in a second-floor window of a duplex, with thick black smoke and flames all around her. An extension ladder was placed at the window, and Deamer quickly started up. As he climbed he talked to the victim at the window, cautioning her not to jump or climb onto the ladder. As he got close she jumped onto the ladder, knocking Deamer off-balance. As they wavered precariously, Musser climbed up the ladder to help them both down. Police officers on the ground steadied the ladder, barely holding up all three. The victim suffered smoke and burn injuries but survived, thanks to them.

Spirit of Courage Award Winners: Firefighter Josh Walper; Firefighter Mike Zapotocky, Hazleton Fire Department; Deputy Chief Brian Mandak

The fire was so hot when firefighters arrived at the scene that carpet was melting, curtains were dripping and the inside of the refrigerator was on fire. As Mandak, Walper and Zapotockyentered the house to search for the elderly woman inside, they also battled thick black smoke. They found her unresponsive between cushions on the living room floor. They brought her out to waiting EMS, amazed that she was breathing on her own. She was later transferred to the Regional Burn Center at Lehigh Valley Hospital.

Phoenix Award Recipient: Joseph Matits

Matits is a burn survivor who has an agenda in life – to make the world a safer, kinder, more connected place. He does this professionally in his role as a police officer in New Jersey, and he does it in his free time when he volunteers to support the burn survivor community. Matitshelped start a nonprofit organization in New Jersey, the Sander & Matits Burn Foundation, which provides scholarships for burn survivors. He volunteers as a counselor at the Burn Prevention Network’s Camp Susquehanna, a camp for children with burn injuries, and at the annual dodgeball fundraiser, Great Balls of Fire. He also is a peer supporter at Saint Barnabas’ burn center in New Jersey. Wherever he serves, he jumps in wholeheartedly, showing up with bagels, doughnuts, water bottles and rolls, helping to run the food bar, and somehow managing to play on a team that needs additional players. Matits also is involved in supporting the burn survivor community in Erie, Pa., and the national burn community through the Phoenix Society.

Spirit of Courage Award Winners: Officer TJ Rentschler and Officer Jenni Dempsey, Mahanoy City Police Department

When officers Dempsey and Rentschler were the first on scene at a rowhouse fire, they quickly learned that a man and his infant son were trapped on the second floor. They kicked in the door and ran through thick smoke and flames to reach the two and bring them back through the fire to safety. If they had not taken immediate action, the outcome could have been very different.

VPSOC Awardees: Lt. Scott Smith, Firefighter Stephen Ebbert

When firefighters arrived at an apartment house engulfed in flames, they learned there was a victim trapped in the basement, where the fire started. Multiple motorcycles and gas tanks stored in the basement had created a fuel fire that was difficult to extinguish. Smith and Ebbert ran through a wall of fire, found the unconscious victim under a tarp in the smoke and fire-filled room, and brought him out to the waiting EMS crew. Smith and Ebbert went back into the fully engulfed building and located another victim on the second floor. Despite the heroic efforts of the firefighters, both victims perished.

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Nominate A Hero

Spirit of Courage Award Criteria

Awarded to a first responder or civilian who risked his or her life to save someone from injury or death by fire. Nominations may be submitted by all. A Selections Committee reviews nominations and selects final awardees.

Partner in Prevention Award Criteria

Awarded to individuals, groups or organizations that have done an outstanding job educating community members about fire safety and burn prevention. Special consideration is given for reaching large numbers of target populations or for service extended over an extended period.Nominations may be submitted by all. A Selections Committee reviews nominations and selects final awardees.

Phoenix Award

Like the mythical bird this award is named for, the Phoenix Award symbolizes new life after fire. It is a reminder that even in catastrophic suffering there is an opportunity to flourish. This award recognizes a burn survivor who despite the suffering has exhibited the strength, courage and resilience it takes to rebuild their lives, and to dedicate their life to the service of others. Awardee is annually selected by members of the Regional Burn Care Team

Submit a Nomination

All nominations must be received by May 5th

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Attend The Event

Burn Prevention Network Invites You to

Honor Our Heroes
Tuesday, October 1, 2019, at 5 P.M.
Under the tent at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg
Bethlehem, Pa.
Business attire

RSVP By Sept. 17, 2019

The event will include:

  • Reception
  • Dinner And Recognition of Heroes
  • Awards Presentation

Online Registration Coming soon!

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