VFW Awards Firefighters of the Year

Photos by Harlem-Roscoe Fire Photographer Marcia Soppe


April 29, 2012

Chief Don Shoevlin poses with awardees Firefighter Matt Bush and Trustee Jerold Ocker

Two Harlem-Roscoe Fire personnel received awards at the Loves Park VFW Post 9759's Firefighter of the Year Award Ceremony - Gerold Ocker and Firefighter Matt Bush.

Trustee Ocker was awarded a special Honored Trustee Award. Chief Shoevlin says, "Trustee Ocker has been on the board for nine years. He has served as secretary and his current position of president. He has continuously demonstrated great leadership, willingness to compromise, has always had the very best interest of the residents of our district at heart in his entire decision making and has taken his fiduciary responsibility of the District very seriously. President Ocker has decided it is time to retire. It has been a great pleasure to work with and for him."

Firefighter/Engineer Matt Bush received the VFW's Firefighter of the Year Award for Harlem-Roscoe. Matt joined the department in 1982. He is state certified Firefighter II , Firefighter III, Hazmat Ops and is a senior apparatus engineer. He has taken numerous fire-related classes including Practical Ice Rescue, Helicopter Safety and is NIMs compliant.

Matt's Lieutenant who nominated him stated, "I consider this award to be an honor given to a member who shows a consistent commitment to the department; who is not an attention seeker, but instead a person who knows the job and does it well. This person should show the public a standard of integrity, pride and dedication that we would like all of our members to have. That does not mean that they make the most calls or attend the most events. This member's dedication shows in his longevity with the department and his quiet dedication to not just doing a job but doing it well. This member does not toot his own horn, does not look for compensation for the time he gives despite his busy schedule and he shows a true and friendly face to all who interact with him. I am proud and feel fortunate to be his officer"

Chief Don Shoevlin adds, "I don't think, in fact I know that I could have not said it any better to describe Matt and what he means to our department with his commitment and dedication. He even has that grandpa glow in the fire house as the younger firefighters look up to him as a mentor. It is an honor for me as a chief to have a person of this caliper to work alongside and with."