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Mayor's Heading City Letter Head

March 4, 2002
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831

Mayor Presents Award of Excellence for 2001

Mayor Don Wesely today presented the Mayor's Award of Excellence for 2001 to Dorothy Skorupa, Recreation Supervisor for the "F" Street Recreation Center. The award recognizes city employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the city.

Skorupa won the monthly award for August 2001 and has already received a $100 U.S. savings bond, a day off with pay and a plaque. All 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.

Skorupa, who has worked for the Parks and Recreation Department for 23 years, was nominated in the category of customer relations by Janine Brown, Director of Emergency Services for the local American Red Cross Chapter. Saturday, April 7, Skorupa was Recreation Supervisor for the Calvert Recreation Center and was asked to open the facility for Red Cross volunteers, clients and the Police and Fire Departments after a fire in the neighborhood.

"Dorothy's calm quite manner was a comfort to clients who had just lost everything they owned," Mayor Wesely read from Brown's letter of nomination. "She was polite and helpful and went out of her way to accommodate their needs. Dorothy's staff followed her lead in their attitude and activities. If the people of Lincoln only had one contact with Parks and Recreation in their lifetime, you should hope it would be with Dorothy. She is an example of outstanding character and compassion."

The Mayor also presented the Honorable Mention Award to team of Sergeants and Officers from the Lincoln Police Department. Originally honored in February 2001 were Sergeants Donald Scheinost and Thomas Hamm and Officers Matthew Franken, Christopher Champoux, Michael Barry, Shane Alesch and Matthew Brodd. They were nominated by Captain Jim Thoms in the category of valor for their actions as first responders to an apartment house fire at 4112 Huntington on December 31, 2000.

At 3:30 a.m., with temperatures near zero, the police were dispatched to a fire in a six-unit, three-story building with people trapped inside. The first officers on the scene advised that the building was fully engulfed in fire, with flames extending as far as 30 feet above the roof and dark smoke. The stair area between the apartment units was consumed by fire, and the only way out of the building for those trapped was to exit exterior windows.

Four adults and nine children, including five infants, were trapped inside the building. The officers encouraged the adults to drop the children to them and then to jump themselves. The victims were then placed in warm police cruisers, and their medical needs were tended to until ambulances arrived.

"Amazingly, the only injuries to the residents were minor lacerations and smoke inhalation," said Mayor Wesely. "There is no doubt the quick actions of the officers prevented a more tragic outcome."

All city employees are eligible for the Mayor's Award of Excellence except for elected officials and some managers. In addition to customer relations and valor, employees can be nominated in the categories of safety, productivity and loss prevention. 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.

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