Everyday heroes

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Nine persons were recognized for life saving efforts during an Emergency Services Recognition last week. Seated from left are Commissioner Chris Modranski and honorees Deputy Erik Licht, Mike Kruprzak and Major Robert “Troy” Watson. Standing behind :Commissioner Robert Wirkner, a member of the Emergency Services Committee, honorees Colton Casper, Major Calvin Graham and Zeph Casper, Sheriff Dale Williams, a member of the Emergency Services Committee and Commissioner Jeff Ohler.

Emergency services personnel, local citizens recognized for heroic efforts

By Carol McIntire


Nine Carroll County emergency service personnel were recognized for their efforts to save lives during a ceremony April 4 in the county commissioners meeting room. 

Fox Township Firefighter Zeph Casper received a Gallantry award for his efforts in saving the life of a county resident at a fire Dec. 6 just outside of Sherrodsville.

Commissioner Bob Wirkner, a member of the Emergency Services Selection Committee, presented Casper a pin for his uniform and a framed certificate of appreciation.

In an exclusive interview following the fire, Zeph Casper and Mike Kruprzak Fox Twp. Fire Department associate member, shared their story. 

Zeph Casper said he and his son, Colton, and Kruprzak were driving on SR 39 just west of Sherrodsville at about 4 p.m. Dec. 6. Just as they drove past the intersection of Dana Rd. they noticed a small fire on the roof of the Lincolns and Things building and a man on the roof who appeared to be attempting to put out a fire. Zeph said he drove onto Dana Rd. parked the truck and threw his cell phone to Colton, telling him to go call 911. Casper grabbed a fire extinguisher and headed inside the building. He entered the building, unaware the owner, Bob Stratton, was still inside. He made his way through the building attempting to knock the fire down with the fire extinguisher, which didn’t last long. He entered the building a second time to retrieve a fire extinguisher he saw on his first trip inside. That’s when he saw Stratton in the office, unaware of the fire burning around him. 

“I told Bob, ‘hey, we’ve gotta get you out of here. This place is on fire and we don’t have much time’.” Zeph Casper said. 

Kruprzak assisted the man down from the burning roof because the tar he was applying had melted, caught fire and was running down into the building. 

At that point, there was another man in the lower level of the building, who was also evacuated.

Both Kruprzak and Colton Casper were recognized with a proclamation and were presented framed certificates of appreciation. 

“Their quick action contributed to the preservation of life and timely notification of emergency services personnel,” noted Wirkner. 

Six employees of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department received honorable recognition awards (framed certificates). All were related to their actions during drug overdoses where the victim was without a pulse or not breathing. The employees administered Narcan and/or did sternum rubs to keep the victim alive until paramedics arrived. 

Major Calvin Graham, Major Robert Watson and Deputy Erik Licht were on hand to receive their awards. Sheriff Dale Williams, who is also a member of the Selection Committee, accepted the awards for Deputy Daniel Griffith, Deputy Frank Herda and Deputy David Miller, saying he would present them the certificates.  

“Our emergency services personnel can never be adequately compensated or sufficiently recognized for the sacrifices made for our communities,” said Wirkner. “They are charged with saving lives and protecting property 24 hours a day, every day of the year.”

Commissioner Jeff Ohler noted the award winners made a huge commitment to the community and Commissioner Chris Modranski said Carroll County is, in his opinion, one of the best places to live, due in part, to the efforts of its emergency personnel.

Nominations are submitted to the Selection Committee in the first few months of each year for actions that took place the prior year. The committee, comprised of a representative of each of the stakeholders in emergency services –fire, ambulance and law enforcement, then select those who should be recognized.

The names of those recognized will be added to a plaque that hangs in the entrance to the courthouse. 

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