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Our Heroes Luncheon recognizes Hillsborough law enforcement and fire rescue personnel

Capt. Alan Hill of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is applauded by his wife, Suzie, center, and daughter Kaeleigh at the 17th annual Our Heroes Luncheon at the Tampa Convention Center on Tuesday.


Capt. Alan Hill of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is applauded by his wife, Suzie, center, and daughter Kaeleigh at the 17th annual Our Heroes Luncheon at the Tampa Convention Center on Tuesday.

TAMPA — A firefighter who rescued a woman from a car sinking in a pond. Two deputies who thwarted an inmate escape attempt. The officer responsible for ensuring special events like the Gasparilla Pirate Festival go off without a hitch. These men and 13 others, were recognized Thursday at the 17th annual Our Heroes Luncheon. They represent all of Hillsborough County's law enforcement and fire rescue agencies. About 2,000 attendees paid tribute to officers who died in the line of duty over the past year, and eight high school seniors whose parents work in law enforcement or fire rescue received scholarships. The honorees:


Capt. Alan Hill

Winner of the Taking Action Against Domestic Violence First Responder of the Year Award, Hill is credited with saving the Spring, a domestic violence center nearly shuttered by budget cuts.

Maj. Joel Freedland

Freedland was honored as Reserve Deputy of the Year for volunteering countless hours supervising more than 120 members of the Reserve II Unit.

Deputies David Trombley and Robert Reiniger

Both were recognized as Detention Deputy of the Year for their response to an escape attempt, even after the man grabbed an officer's gun. Both deputies were injured in the fight.

Detective Christopher Rule

The agency's Law Enforcement Deputy of the Year, Rule has worked undercover to investigate the county's most dangerous felony offenders.


Cpl. John Spala

Spala is leader of the department's crisis response team and supervises the traffic fatality unit.


Joe Cable

This firefighter improved the use of technology, increasing the quality of patient care.


William Saunders

A fire medic, he restrained an armed patient during an emergency call and ensured neither the man nor the other first responders were injured.


Sgt. Raymond Ada

Ada helped prevent a suicidal man from jumping off the Sunshine Skyway bridge and took him into custody after an attempted escape.


Officer Scott Parker

This University of South Florida officer was recognized for winning the agency's "Click It or Ticket" Award and having the most driving-under-the-influence arrests two years in a row.


Lt. Steve Palmieri

Honored as Paramedic of the Year, he is credited with saving a man who went into cardiac arrest at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

Capt. Tracy MacDonald

The agency's Firefighter of the Year, he saved a woman from a sinking vehicle after she lost control and drove into a Brandon pond.

Chief Van Tisdale

Though he works full time as a pediatric paramedic at a hospital, Tisdale earned the Volunteer Firefighter of the Year award by serving countless hours running Bloomingdale Fire Rescue.


Chief Jim Gary

Recognized as one of the agency's key education advocates, Gary has helped train future firefighters and encouraged others to obtain degrees and certifications.


Beth Baucom Zolciak

An investigator at Tampa International Airport, Zolciak has assisted various agencies with interrogations and administering polygraph tests.


Master Officer Paul Smalley

The department's lead planner for special events, he coordinates the logistic plans for Gasparilla, dignitary visits and various other events.

Reserve Officer Doug Cook

After two officers were killed on duty, this volunteer officer helped support sworn officers and staff members during the funerals and after. On top of that, he logged 377.5 hours of service.

Tia Mitchell can be reached at or (813) 226-3405.

Our Heroes Luncheon recognizes Hillsborough law enforcement and fire rescue personnel 05/24/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 10:41pm]
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