Firefighters, Law Enforcement Officers of the Year Honored
American Legion Post 26 presented prestigious awards to five Davenport men Monday night. They were honored as firefighters and law enforcement Officers of the Year.
Sgt. Kevin Smull, Sgt. Brad Jensen, and Detective Brandon Koepke were honored for their work with the Davenport Police Department's Tactical Operations Bureau, investigating and shutting down meth manufacturing operations in the city.
According to their citation, the three men 'continuously go above and beyond in the performance of their duties...placing themselves at risk to protect public safety.'
The two firefighters who were honored earned their awards through their life-saving actions off the clock.
Davenport firefighters Michael Putnam and Derrick Frese will tell you they were just in the right place at the right time:
"We were just there at the pool, and just trying to help," Putnam told us.
"Happened to be there and got lucky," echoed Frese.
But their fire chief says their heroic actions that earned them the American Legion's Firefighter of the Year awards were more than luck.
"They're very, very dedicated to the community and will do anything that they have to save a life," said Davenport Fire Chief Lynn Washburn.
And that's just what they did on June 22, 2013.
Frese and Putnam were off-duty, enjoying the summer weather with their families at the Scott County Park pool, when a young man jumped off the high dive, went under water, then didn't come back up.
The two firefighters jumped into action:
"They assisted the lifeguards with removing the victim from the pool, with doing CPR, with packaging him, getting him ready to go to the hospital -- and they did all this while they were off-duty," Washburn said.
Putnam and Frese were named co-recipients of the American Legion's Firefighter of the Year award on Monday night. The two honorees say the award recognizes the good work of the entire fire department and everyone involved in the June 22nd rescue.
"It was an awesome, awesome award, and like I said, I wish more people were here to accept it," Putnam said.
"I can't say enough for the lifeguard staff out in Scott County. They did a great job," agreed Frese.
That response - and these awards -are telling:
"What it says about them as individuals is that they truly believe in their mission to serve and protect the community," Washburn said.
And that's true whether they're in their uniforms as firefighters or in their bathing suits with their families. They're heroes - although neither man says he feels like one.
"I do what I like to do," shrugged Frese.
And for that the American Legion - and the community - are grateful.