Five local heroes were honored at the Annual Murfreesboro Noon Exchange Club Crime and Fire Prevention Awards Luncheon at Stones River Country Club Thursday at noon.
Murfreesboro Police Department Officers Travis Ledford and Nathan Frost received recognition as “Officers of the Year” for their valiant efforts during a serious vehicle crash. The two came upon the crash where flames were already visible from the front of the car. Officer Ledford attempted to rescue the driver while Officer Frost obtained a fire extinguisher in an effort to stop the flames from spreading. Although they were unable to free the driver who was physically pinned, they were able to remove the passenger from the vehicle just as flames overtook the car. According to Lt. Don Fanning, “both officers put themselves in imminent peril of their own lives in an attempt to save the driver and to successfully rescue the passenger in the vehicle.” He also added that the passenger was still alive today due to their “bravery and a willingness to risk their lives.”
Rutherford County Sheriff Department Sergeant Derek Oeser was awarded “Officer of the Year” because as a “team leader” for the Hostage Negotiations Team, his participation and leadership has proven to be invaluable on numerous occasions throughout his career. According to RCSO’s Public Information Officer Lisa Marchesoni, “The lives of people he has saved through negotiations cannot be measured.” It was also stated during the presentation that Oeser is “of the highest caliber among deputies and supervisors. His attitude motivates those deputies under his command and his peers. He has the knack of being able to motivate people to follow him while still demonstrating the ability to perform any task expected of a deputy sheriff.”
Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Department Captain/Shift Training Officer Bob Decker was named “Firefighter of the Year” for several accomplishments within the department. To name a few—Bob was very instrumental in the planning and development of the department’s Training Facility, expected to be completed within the next year or two. In addition to serving as Training Officer on his assigned shift, Bob also subbed for the other two shifts for several months and never complained about the increased responsibilities. Bob volunteers a lot of his time to the department’s teams for both the Tennessee Ultimate Fire Fighting Challenge and the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge. Under his direction, the teams have brought home several victories. According to Fire Chief Cumbey Gaines, “To say that Bob has proven to be a valuable asset to the department may be an understatement.”
Rutherford County Fire & Rescue nominated Lieutenant Matthew Lupo for “Volunteer Firefighter of the Year,” stating that “Throughout his entire career in Rutherford County, he has led by example and has always been someone willing to go above and beyond to get things done.” It was also mentioned during his presentation, “It seems no matter what time of day or night the call comes out, you are almost always guaranteed that you will hear his voice on the radio checking ‘en route’.” It is this level of dedication and his commitment to training that has resulted in all of the firefighters at any level and at any station trusting him no matter what…”
Murfreesboro Noon Exchange Club President Linda Burt commented on the luncheon, “We are more than happy to recognize our community leaders in public safety. We appreciate the job that each of these award recipients perform each and every day. Their dedication to this community is remarkable.”
The Murfreesboro Noon Exchange Club (America’s Service Club) is a group of men and women working together to make the community a better place to live through programs of service in Americanism, Community Service, Youth Activities, and the Prevention of Child Abuse.
Ashley McDonald, Murfreesboro Fire and Rescue