Cleveland 100 honors courage, sacrifice of first responders

Cleveland 100 honors courage, sacrifice of first responders

May 21st, 2011 by Randall Higgins in News

Four Cleveland Fire Department personnel received the Courtney McGrady Award Friday during the annual luncheon of Cleveland 100, an organization founded by McGrady and Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland. The firefighters were recognized for entering a burning house in March and carrying a handicapped man to safety. From left are Lt. Pete VanDusen, Engineer Larry Hafley and firefighters Shawn McAmis and Cody Hicks. Staff Photo by Randall Higgins/Chattanooga Times Free Press

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CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Emergency first responders were honored Friday for their courage and sacrifice.

Cleveland 100 was organized 15 years ago to provide immediate financial assistance for dependents of police, fire, rescue and ambulance personnel who lose their lives in the line of duty, said group President Brenda Lawson.

But the organization also holds an honors luncheon each year for first responders and presents awards for specific acts of bravery during the past year, she said.

This year's luncheon was dedicated to the memory of Chattanooga Police Department Sgt. Tim Chapin who died while responding to an armed robbery at the U.S. Money Shops on Brainerd Road. Jesse Mathews, 25, is in Hamilton County Jail, charged with Chapin's shooting death.

At the Cleveland 100 luncheon, Allan Jones and Steve Scoggins, owners of U.S. Money Shops, a Cleveland-based company, hosted a delegation from the Chattanooga Police Department.

"It is a loss and a tribute to a great profession," said Mayor Tom Rowland, a Cleveland 100 founder.

The McMinn County Sheriff's Office and Sheriff Joe Guy were recognized for their quick investigation into an attack on the tour bus of the Voices of Lee singers. An electric motor was thrown off an Interstate 75 overpass onto the bus, slightly injuring the driver. Three men were charged in connection with the Nov. 28 incident.

"Sheriff Guy promised from the very beginning that his department would be aggressive in solving this crime. They were," Rowland said.

Members of the Bradley County Sheriff's Office and the Cleveland Police Department also were honored for many instances of going beyond their duties to help others as well as non-police work with community organizations.

Lawson and Rowland said many stories of devotion to others by the departments are still being played out in the aftermath of the April 27 tornadoes. Those stories and the first responders involved will be recognized specially at the Cleveland 100 banquet next spring, officials said.

"There are still so many people in the field still responding to needs," Lawson said. "We felt we couldn't do them justice this year."

Among the other honorees this year were four Cleveland Fire Department personnel who entered a burning house to carry out a handicapped man trapped inside.

Also honored was a Tennessee state trooper injured during an accident while escorting former Vice President Dick Cheney's motorcade in 2002.