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St. Charles Firefighters Honored

by American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois

Lt. David Chmelar and Firefighter/Paramedic Chad Tinsley of the St. Charles Fire Department were honored as 2020 Everyday Extraordinary Firefighter Heroes by the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois. Each year, the organization honors individuals for acts of bravery, dedication, and service to the community.

Lt. Chmelar and Firefighter Chad Tinsley are being recognized for a river rescue that occurred last summer in which they saved two adults and a teenager from plunging over the Fox River dam in a boat. The boat had become disabled, and a major storm with strong winds began blowing the boat towards the dam. The firefighters launched a rescue boat and reached the disabled boat just as it approached the dam. The three people in the boat were rescued; 40 seconds more and three terrified boaters would have plunged over the dam.

Watch a video of their story on the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois Facebook page

“We are so proud of Lt. Chmelar and Firefighter Tinsley,” said Fire Chief Scott Swanson. “Their quick thinking and decisive action was instrumental in a situation where every second counted. River rescue is something we train for regularly and that training was key in this situation.”

Normally, those who are nominated for these awards are recognized at a special Heroes Breakfast. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Chicago & Northern Illinois Red Cross is unable to host this event in person and instead are honoring this class of heroes via social media @chicagoredcross on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

updated Sep 29, 2021