2011 Meritorious Conduct Awards - Class C Medal

Class C Medals are awarded for acts of exceptional character and associated with unusual ability, personal initiative and courage.  Recipients also receive a monetary award in the amount of $100.


FF Damian Garcia (Engine 15)

On the evening of January 28, 2009, FF Damian Garcia, responded on Engine 15 to a report of a jumper at 70 Cotter Street. Upon arrival to the scene, and seeing a large adult male hanging by his arms from a third floor window, FF Garcia quickly ascended a 22 ft. extension ladder. Finding it necessary to lean over in a precarious manner so as to be able to access the man’s legs, FF Garcia held onto and skillfully pushed the large man up and into the window where he was taken into police custody. FF Garcia, at great risk to his own safety, surely saved this man from certain injury and possible death.

[CASE 09-15]


FF Michael C. Magalong (Rescue Squad 1)

On the night of March 14, 2009, Rescue Squad 1 responded to the scene of a police negotiation with a potential jumper. Firefighters ascended an aerial ladder to the roof of a 4-story Victorian with a steeply peaked roof. At great risk to his own personal safety, FF Michael C. Magalong was harnessed and, using his negotiating skills, gained the trust of the agitated individual enabling him to secure a harness on him. Once again, becoming agitated the man began violently attacking FF Magalong, causing a near-fatal fall as they both rolled down the steeply peaked roof.  FF Magalong and the crew of RS1 showed extreme skill and professionalism while executing a very challenging and dangerous rescue. 

[CASE 09-08]


T/Lt. Garreth Miller (Engine 14)

FF Desmond J. Cotter (Engine 18)

On May 2, 2009, responding to a report of multiple surfers in distress off the rocks near the Cliff House, T/Capt. Robert A. Styles and Lt. David C. Ritter observed a flood tide producing strong, swift northerly currents sweeping surfers through the rocks. Both Officers coordinated teams and initiated their rescue plan. A/Capt. Styles and FF Desmond J. Cotter strategically entered the surf south of the Cliff House in order to take the northerly flowing current to an eddy where one of the surfers was stuck on the rocks. Lt. Garreth Miller entered the surf to assist the other swimmers. Once in the water the rescue teams encountered a current that was stronger than anticipated, at times, wondering if they would become victims of the treacherous surf themselves. Eventually, making physical contact with the surfers, Officers Ritter and Styles brought them safely to shore. Without the expertise and skills of A/Capt. Styles and Lt. Dave Ritter directing rescue efforts, the surfers likely would have succumbed to the struggle that they encountered that day.

[CASE 09-10]


FF Michael Guajardo (Engine 42)

On June 20, 2009, while at the scene of a working fire at 2420 Bayshore Blvd., the members of Engine 42, upon entering the building, were informed of three civilians who were trapped inside. Upon locating the civilians at the bottom of a smoke-filled lightwell, FF Michael Guajardo advised command, calling for a ladder to be lowered to their location. The crew of T17, with the assistance of E42 and Rescue Squad 2, lowered a ladder, bringing two of the victims to safety.  FF Guajardo carried the third victim, an unconscious elderly woman, up the ladder.  The swift actions of all of the crews involved were critical in the survival of the three civilians.

[CASE 09-18]


FF Michael H. Marks (off-duty)

On the weekend of August 28, 2009, while off-duty and enjoying an afternoon at a swimming hole on the Yuba River, FF Michael H. Marks heard a man calling out for help. Mr. A.J. Ross, a 235 lb. man, had been swimming when he was overcome by an incapacitating leg cramp. Attempting to swim toward a rock and realizing that he would not make it due to the strong current, he began to panic and shouted out for help. Before he knew it, FF Marks dove into the water and swam to his side, where Mr. Ross, in an attempt to hang on, began to pull FF Marks under the water. FF Marks recovered and, using a surf rescue technique, brought Mr. Ross to safety.

[CASE 10-08]


FF John W. Hernandez (Rescue Squad 2)

FF Michael A. Rustia (Rescue Squad 2)

On September 14, 2009, Rescue Squad 2 responded to a report of a vehicle in the water off of Treasure Island with a victim trapped inside. Upon arrival, Firefighters John W. Hernandez and Michael A. Rustia swam to the location of the vehicle where they worked together to access the victim by diving below the surface, breaking a window and pulling the victim out of the vehicle, returning him to the shore. Both Firefighters then returned to the submerged vehicle to search for other possible victims before confirming that the vehicle was clear.

[CASE 09-21]


Lt. Richard W. Gering (Rescue Squad 1)

FF Derek B. O’Leary (Rescue Squad 1)

FF John G. Shanley (Rescue Squad 1)

FF Michael P. Orlando (Rescue Squad 1)

On the afternoon of July 13, 2010, Rescue Squad 1, along with multiple units, responded to the scene of a collapsed trench, entrapping a worker under soil and heavy concrete. Upon arriving on the scene, the crew of RS1 quickly called for shoring and cribbing equipment, medical support and hand shovels. Working tirelessly for four hours, the crew of Rescue Squad 1 continuously assessed and treated the victim and shoveled the loose soil that repeatedly backfilled the excavation site. Challenged by unstable ground and concrete pilings, companies stabilized the collapse area with shoring, ropes, webbing and chain.  Determined to successfully complete their mission, the responding crews set up a pulley system and, in a coordinated team effort, extricated the man from the trench. The expertise and skills of all companies resulted in the successful rescue of the worker who, as a result of his care, suffered only minor injuries.

[CASE 10-11]



FF Luke R. Michaelis (Engine 34)

FF Thomas C. Bollinger (Engine 22)

On the afternoon of October 6, 2010, Firefighters Thomas C. Bollinger and Luke R. Michaelis, working on Engines 34 and 23 respectively, responded to Ocean Beach for a report of a possible drowning. Upon arriving, the FFs donned their wetsuits and swam out to a location approximately 200 yards off shore where a distraught woman was resisting rescue attempts being made by others. The distressed woman was very combative but the Firefighters calmed her to the point where she allowed them to secure two flotation devices on her. The surf, being extremely rough, made it difficult to swim the woman toward the shore. Observing a Coast Guard Vessel farther out from their location, FFs Michaelis and Bollinger swam the woman to the Coast Guard Vessel for transport back to shore.

[CASE 10-14]


Lt. Sean A. Johnston (Truck 3)

In the early morning hours of October 20, 2010, Engine 3 and Truck 3 were the first two units to arrive at the scene of a 4 Alarm fire at 824 Hyde St. Identifying 5 civilians who were trapped by fire and heavy smoke at windows and on ledges of the building, Lt. Sean A. Johnston directed his truck crew to deploy ladders for the purpose of executing civilian rescues. The building’s interior stairwell, had quickly burned and collapsed leaving no other means of escape. Lt. Johnston rescued two civilians from the 2nd story fire escape using a 22 ft. ladder and with the skillful placement of the aerial ladder, the others were rescued from various locations on the upper floors. The rapid and efficient actions of both companies under quickly deteriorating conditions saved the lives of five civilians.

[CASE 10-16]


FF Paul R. Gallegos (Rescue Squad 1)

On November 3, 2010, while the crew of Rescue Squad 1 was working at the Giant’s World Series parade, witnesses pointed out a perpetrator that had slashed vehicle tires and destroyed government property. The man was wielding a knife in a dense crowd. FF Paul R. Gallegos, at great risk to his own personal safety, followed the suspect and subsequently subdued him, securing the knife and other weapons that he had on his person. FF Gallageos’ personal initiative and bravery were instrumental in the apprehension of a dangerous suspect and in the prevention of injury to innocent bystanders.

[CASE 10-15]