The Brookfield-LaGrange Park Lions Club presented firefighters Thomas Reich of the Brookfield Fire Department and John Ryan of the LaGrange Park Fire Department with awards as Firefighters of the Year on May 25 at a special ceremony at Dee’s Little Italy Restaurant.
In addition, Brookfield Police Officer Robert Palos and LaGrange Park Police Officer Patrick Menzione were honored as Police Officers of the Year of their departments. Each was selected for the award based upon his exceptional performance of duty and service to his department.
Lions Club President Charles Hitzeman presented each firefighter and officer with a plaque recognizing their achievement. Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica awarded the officers and firefighters with resolutions of the County Board honoring their accomplishments. Each was also presented with resolutions, proclamations or certificates from the Illinois Senate, the Illinois House of Representatives, the Village of LaGrange Park and the Village of Brookfield.
Reich, a Brookfield firefighter/paramedic was credited with saving the life a choking victim.
“The entire department was very proud of his action,” said Brookfield Fire Chief Charles LaGreco at a May 23 meeting of the village board where proclamations honoring both Reich and Palos were read by Village Clerk Dan Raddatz. “Tom Reich was the unanimous decision f the department.”
Palos’ selection resulted from a significant number of high-profile arrests.
“He literally sets the bar for the other officers to follow,” said Brookfield Police Chief Thomas Schoenfeld. “It’s well deserved.”
“This is the tenth year for these awards,” said Lion Dan Svoboda, event co-chair, “It is a privilege for the Lions Club to recognize the contributions of our communities’ emergency personnel.”