GRANITE CITY — Family, friends and co-workers packed into City Hall on Tuesday for the presentation of commendations for police officers’ actions in the line of duty.
The Life-Saving and Valor commendations are presented twice per year to recognize officers’ actions that save lives and protect the public. This year, the following officers, city employees and a business received commendations and recognition:
• Patrolman Joe Mangiaracino, Patrolman Eric Bailey and Street Department employee Vance Reznack rescued a man from a building’s second floor during a Jan. 28 fire and went back into the burning structure to retrieve the family pet.
Police Chief Rich Miller said the incident shows how the city’s departments work together.
“That says something about the leadership of the city and people who work for us,” he said.
• Patrolman Gary Brooks on Jan. 24 saved a suicidal man who was about to jump from a bridge. At one point, the man slipped and was hanging by one hand from the bridge’s girders, but Brooks got the man’s wife on the phone and was able to get him to walk back to safety.
• Officer Brian Cave on May 12 saved the life of a stroke victim, Gregg Austin. Cave responded to a routine crash, determined Austin was having a stroke and coordinated an emergency medical response that quickly got him to a hospital.
“It was amazing how these departments worked fluidly together,” Austin said. “Everyone took care of my family. One officer stood by the door because my daughter was crying.”
• Lt. John Blaylock received a commendation for work to apprehend a suspect in a May 31 shooting in South Roxana. He heard an Illinois State Police radio broadcast describing the suspect’s vehicle and followed the car while coordinating a traffic stop with other agencies. Police found a stolen firearm in the vehicle and arrested the suspect.
• Patrolman Brandon Shellenberg on June 30 stopped a vehicle with no registration and spotted an AR-15 rifle in the car. He held four occupants at gunpoint while radioing for assistance and obtained a confession from the driver about the weapon.
• Officer John Redstone received a Meritorious School Resource Officer Service Award.
• Jeff Koehler of Weber Chevrolet was recognized for supporting the department’s youth police academy.
• Fire Chief Vince Martinez and firefighter-paramedic Greg Croxton presented a Community Action Award to Kyle Parker, a lifeguard at Wilson Park Pool, for performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a 3-year-old boy. The boy made a full recovery.
Mayor Ed Hagnauer thanked police officers, firefighters and city employees for their service.
“When we go to bed, we feel safe,” he said.