Monroe County, N.Y. -- Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks has written a letter to President Obama in support of awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Firefighter Tomasz Kaczowka, Firefighter Michael Chiapperini, Firefighter Joseph Hofstetter, Firefighter Theodore Scardino, and Police Officer John Ritter.
Kaczowka and Chiapperini were killed on Christmas Eve when a gunman attacked volunteer responders as they arrived on the scene of a fire on Lake Road in Webster. Scardino and Hofstetter are in satisfactory condition, and the hospital says they are making excellent progress. Ritter was not seriously injured.
The letter reads:
Dear Mr. President:
As Monroe County Executive, I would like to take this opportunity to request that you consider awarding the distinguished Presidential Medal of Freedom to Firefighter Tomasz Kaczowka, Firefighter Michael Chiapperini, Firefighter Joseph Hofstetter, Firefighter Theodore Scardino, and Police Officer John Ritter, all of whom were sadly ambushed in Monroe County’s town of Webster, New York on Christmas Eve.
As you are aware, the Presidential Medal of Freedom is our nation’s highest civilian honor. It is reserved for special recognition of an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
Before dawn on that Christmas Eve morning, five public servants left the safety and comfort of their own homes to protect and serve their neighbors. Only a few minutes later, two were lost, three were injured, and their families and our community were changed forever. Through their heroic actions, these men selflessly made the sacrifice demanded of all first responders – they rushed directly towards danger in order to keep our homes and our families safe. Their legacy of bravery and dedication, carried on proudly by their fellow first responders that sad day, have offered hope and solace to all Americans. It is my opinion that their actions under the most difficult of circumstances merit serious consideration for the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
As of this writing, at least one petition to present Misters Kaczowka, Chiapperini, Hofstetter, Scardino, and Ritter with this high honor has surpassed 25,000 signatures, the threshold required to receive a response from your Administration. It is in a spirit of caring and reverence for these men and their families that I humbly add my support, and further request that you discharge the powers of your office to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to five of Monroe County’s finest citizens.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this request, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.