Honoring Our First Responder Heroes by Michael Dalby President & CEO, Greater Naples Chamber

At the Greater Naples Chamber, we’re privileged each year to recognize our community’s first responders during the Distinguished Public Service Awards. Established in 2003, this event recognizes Collier County fire safety, emergency services and law enforcement personnel for their contributions to the well-being of the community. For nearly two years now, first responders have not only worked to keep us safe, but also healthy. From distributing personal protection equipment to administering vaccines, first responders were on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reg Buxton, Scott O’Dell, Fire Marshall Corey Adamski and Pat O’Connor at the 2021 Distinguished Public Service Awards. Adamski was awarded the Distinguished Public Service Award in the fire safety category

The Greater Naples Chamber, in consultation with the Distinguished Public Service Awards selection committee, was pleased to honor the Collier County EMS Training Division in the emergency medical services category. Led by Deputy Chief Noemi Garcia, the team of Cpt. Matt Allen, Cpt. Kori Louro, Cpt. Anthony Maro, Cpt. Tom Ouilette and Cpt. Art Wolf was integral to the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines throughout the community.

Acting as an extension of the Department of Health in Collier County, the team coordinated 70 vaccination clinics, delivering more than 18,000 vaccines between January and May. The Chamber was also honored to present Mike Shaw, the operations and homeland security coordinator for Collier’s Bureau of Emergency Services and Emergency Management, with an award in the emergency management category. Shaw played a significant role in distributing 1.3 million pieces of personal protective equipment to hospitals, nursing homes and first

Efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 account for just a fraction of what our community’s first responders have done to keep us safe. They have responded to hundreds upon hundreds of calls, demonstrating countless acts of bravery. One of those acts of heroism was performed by Naples Fire Marshal Corey Adamski, the recipient of the 2021 Distinguished Public Service Award for fire safety. Last year, Adamski responded to a brush fire at 36th Ave. SE and Everglades Blvd. When a 911 call came in to dispatch that an elderly couple was trapped in their home, Adamski located the house, dashed by the flames on the front porch, forced the front door open and assisted the couple out of the house.

Members of the Collier County EMS Training Division celebrate after being awarded with the 2021 Distinguished Public Service Award for
emergency medical services during the annual awards ceremony.

Collier County Cpl. Pierre Jean, Cpl. David Donzanti and Det. James Kleinheinz were also honored for heroism. When Jean arrived at a report of a tractor overturned in the water, he saw the operator was submerged in the lake, seat-belted to the tractor and pinned beneath the weight of the machine. Jean entered the water and, with the help of two Good Samaritans, extricated the operator and pulled him to shore. Jean, assisted by Donzanti and Kleinheinz, performed life-saving procedures until the man regained breathing.

These men and women are examples of the important role first responders play in our community, and we are grateful for everything they do to make Collier County the safest place in America to live, work and play.

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