Perry Township firefighters honored by State Fire Marshal

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — Five local firefighters received recognition Monday night for pulling a fellow firefighter out of a fire in November 2019

Those firefighters were honored at the Perry Township Fire Department for their knowledge, skills and ability to save a life.

“i’m very thankful,” said Perry Township firefighter Keith Kuester. 

Kuester has a lot to be thankful for and he owes his life to his fellow firefighters.

“I wanted them to be recognized in some way, because there is nothing harder than working with somebody that you know,” he said. “It’s always very hard, I mean, if it’s a family member, close friend that you get called to help. So, I can’t imagine what it was like for them.”

November 13, 2019 is a day many on the Perry Township Fire Department won’t soon forget. A house fire on Bayou Creek Road – quickly turning into anything but a normal run.

“I was at the front of the house whenever it first came across, so I ran to the back,” explained German Township Fire Dept. Division Chief Heather Henry. “I am a paramedic so we immediately jumped in and needed to do what we needed to do.”

Division Chief Henry performed CPR and provided the first shock of an AED. She along with four others – received that recognition Monday night from the Indiana State Fire Marshal.

Each of the four Perry Township firefighters along with Henry received  the fire marshal’s prestigious Valor Award.

“A lot of times we just say it’s just in the line of duty but there are circumstances that rise above the normal day to day operations that should be recognized and that’s why we are here tonight,” Indiana State Fire Marshal Joel Thacker said. 

These firefighters are credited for not just saving the lives of others but the life of one of their own.

“I’m just proud of my people and proud of the fire service and what these people do,” Perry Township Fire Dept. Chief Jerry Bulger said.

But for these firefighters – 34-year veteran Chief Keith Kuester – is thankful they were in the right place at the right time.

“To never take anything for granted because right now I farm and we are in fall harvest and just today I was thinking back, what if I wouldn’t get to do this this fall?” he said. 

Chief Kuester spent two days in the hospital, he made a full recovery and is already back working for the fire service. 

The remaining Perry Township firefighters being honored Monday night include Admin Chief Steve Anderson, Firefighter Jason Craig, Firefighter Perry Gostley, and Firefighter Chris Gibson.

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(This story was originally published on October 5, 2020)

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