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Glendale firefighters honor their own, community members during awards luncheon

Nate Shultz was at his Glendale home last November when he heard cries for help from his next-door neighbor and saw that he had been trapped in his house that was on fire.

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Shultz grabbed a nearby garden hose and was able to spray his neighbor down shortly before he was taken away from his residence to safety and treated by paramedics. His actions that day were honored by the Glendale Fire Department on Wednesday during its annual awards luncheon.

Shultz was presented with a letter of appreciation from the department for his act of bravery.

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Letters of appreciation were also handed out to GTV6, Children’s Burn Foundation, Soto Food Services and the L.A. Troupe, which presents theatrical programs, including “The Fire and Burn Safety Show,” in area schools.

The Service Above Self Award was given to Donald Biggs, a retired assistant fire chief who devoted 32 years to the department. According to a statement read by ABC7 anchor Ellen Leyva, who hosted the event, Biggs’ public service went beyond his tenure as a firefighter.

He was also devoted to helping veterans, having been recruited to help build Glendale’s Veterans’ Memorial in 1992 and serving as a mentor to veterans at Glendale Community College.

Also honored was a group of firefighters who helped a pregnant woman in August safely give birth to a boy who had his umbilical cord around his neck. For their actions, members of Engine 25 received a unit citation award.

Unit citations were also given to engine companies 24 and 26.

Other awards presented on Wednesday included fire chief’s commendations to Timothy Thom, Joe Wilke and Glendale police officer Jose Arriaga.

Joshua Benedict was recognized with the Ambulance Operator of the Year Award and Distinguished Service Awards were given to firefighter/paramedic Gilberto Mejia, fire engineer/paramedic Eric Carlson and Fire Capt./ paramedic Joseph Coory.

Elementary school students Gavin La Borde, Shayla Baer and Sophia Alario were recognized as Junior Fire Essay Winners.

Several groups were also recognized with Partners in Public Safety Awards: Glendale Community College, Adventist Health Glendale, Dignity Health Glendale Memorial Hospital, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital and the Glendale Fire Foundation.

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