BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- The Bridgeport Elks recently honored Timothy Gies as Firefighter of the Year and Carlos Vazquez and Police Officer of the Year.
The Bridgeport Elks Lodge 36 also honored the people who were lost in the attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, in its annual memorial service.
Each year at the service, the Bridgeport Elks also honors a firefighter and police officer who represent the best of Bridgeport’s first responders.
Gies came to the Bridgeport Fire Department in 1987 and has received the Medal of Valor, the second-highest award to be issued in the department, as well as the Medal of Merit, a commendation for rescuing an unconscious child who was revived and survived a near-fatal fire.
He is assigned to Ladder-11 and has taken personal responsibility for designing and maintaining the memorial at Station 7/11, honoring firefighters who lost their lives battling a structure fire in July 2010. He has also spent countless hours working at the Connecticut Burn Camp helping to make a safe and fun place for children who have suffered severe burns enjoy a summer retreat.
Vazquez joined the police department in 2007 and has distinguished himself as an active, self-motivated and conscientious officer. He has made many felony arrests of dangerous individuals and has done so with the highest degree of professionalism.
On Dec. 26, 2011, Vazquez was involved in a motor vehicle accident when a vehicle ran a stop sign, causing a collision. Vazquez suffered serious injuries, requiring him to learn to walk again and called into question his ability to ever return to police work. He went through rehabilitation and returned to work on light duty seven months later.
In December 2012, he returned to full duty. This year he has been a major contributor in stemming gun violence in the city, particularly on the East Side of Bridgeport.
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