Ask a first responder about the job they do helping the helpless and saving lives through training, courage and teamwork, and they’ll tell you it’s a job that they do for personal reasons and not for recognition or fame.

But the job that St. Cloud Fire Rescue Department did, along with help from the Kissimmee Fire Department and Osceola County Fire Rescue, almost two weeks ago was recognized at the start of the Orlando Fire Conference Thursday morning, it front of hundreds of their peers and firefighters from outfits around the state.

After former Major League Baseball player and two-time World Series champion (Boston Red Sox 2004, New York Yankees 2009) Johnny Damon spoke to the room of firefighters about teamwork and having your teammates back unconditionally, our local heroes got their accolades.

Around 1:30 a.m. on Feb. 8, St. Cloud Fire was dispatched to fire at an Alabama Avenue home, known to many in the department as a home housing many special needs children and individuals. By the time the fire was fought, 11 people inside the home, including 10 of the special needs children, were removed safe and sound. At nearly the same time, another fire broke out at another home blocks away, and four people inside that house were also removed safely.

Those with the fire conference made a point, in the second segment of a four-day training conference, to give commendations to those who

Fire Chief Joe Silvestris

“This team has been together for a long time, along with some newer members. But because of their training, great leadership and commitment to success, we had a positive outcome,” he said. “They took care of business; they saved lives. We thank Osceola County and Kisimmee Fire to bring in resources to help us mitigate it, our partnerships with them are incredible.”

“It’s true these are folks who aren’t doing this for the recognition, but I think it’s good to be recognized for their work and commitment sometimes, especially when lives were on the line, and everyone got out safely.”

We at Positively Osceola thank the St. Cloud Fire Rescue Department and all other first responders, for running into situations that everyone else runs away from, and putting their lives on the line to save those of our citizens, young and old. You truly make a positive difference in Osceola County, every day and night! May you all stay safe each time that alarm rings!