Mayor Don Wesely today presented the Mayor’s Award of Excellence for April to Jesse Theiler, Lincoln Fire and Rescue. The monthly award recognizes city employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the city. The award was presented at the beginning of today’s City Council meeting.
Theiler, who has been a firefighter since December 2000, received two nominations in the category of customer relations – one from Michael Moss, Acting Captain of the Fire Department, and another from Rick Campos, Fire Investigator with the Fire Prevention Bureau.
As a child, Theiler learned to use sign language to communicate with the hearing impaired, and he has used his skills to communicate with citizens in emergencies. In one incident, crews were dispatched to a home in which a fire detector was activated, but there was no fire. Through sign language, Theiler assured the family members they were safe, explained how their smoke detector worked and offered other options for in-home fire detection.
Another incident in which Theiler used his sign language skills involved a hearing- impaired person whose van was on fire. Theiler was called after the fire to help calm the vehicle owner and to gather the necessary information from the owner, speeding the process for inspectors.
"When Firefighter Theiler began to communicate with the owner of the vehicle, you could see the relief in her facial expressions," wrote Campos in his nomination. "Firefighter Theiler not only was a communication medium, but also a comforter."
"Jesse has lowered the stress levels of hearing-impaired citizens encountering an emergency situation, making the process of gathering critical and accurate information possible and gaining the trust and respect, not only of his peers, but also of the hearing-impaired community as well," said Mayor Wesely.
The other categories in which employees can be nominated are productivity, safety, loss prevention and valor. All city employees are eligible for the Mayor’s Award of Excellence except for elected officials and some managers. Individuals or teams can be nominated by supervisors, peers, subordinates and the general public.
Nomination forms are available from department heads, employee bulletin boards or the Personnel Department, which oversees the awards program. All nominations are reviewed by the Mayor’s Award of Excellence Committee, which includes a representative with each union and a non-union representative appointed by the Mayor. Award winners receive a $100 U.S. savings bond, a day off with pay and a plaque. Monthly winners are eligible to receive the annual award, which comes with a $500 U.S. savings bond, two days off with pay and a plaque.