Heroic honors

(L to R) Jimmy Binns shakes the hand of 7th Dis­trict po­lice of­ficer Mi­chael Murphy at State Sen­at­or Shir­ley M. Kit­chen’s 14th An­nu­al Po­lice Of­ficers and Fire­fight­ers Ap­pre­ci­ation Ban­quet at the Phil­adelphia Prot­est­ant Home on Wed­nes­day, June 29. Kev­in Cook / for the Times

The 40-plus po­lice of­ficers and fire­fight­ers honored last week at state Sen. Shir­ley Kit­chen’s 14th an­nu­al ap­pre­ci­ation ban­quet seemed genu­inely pleased to be singled out for out­stand­ing work.

“It’s very nice to be re­cog­nized,” said Ju­li­anne Bruhns, an of­ficer in the 39th Po­lice Dis­trict. “We do ap­pre­ci­ate it.”

The June 29 event took place at the Phil­adelphia Prot­est­ant Home, at 6500 Tabor Road in Lawndale.

The guests of hon­or were treated to a sit-down din­ner and dessert and the mu­sic­al tal­ents of The Madis­on Pro­ject.

Kit­chen (D-3rd dist.) was un­able to at­tend, as she was in Har­ris­burg for fi­nal state budget ne­go­ti­ations.

The law­maker hon­ors po­lice of­ficers and fire­fight­ers in her dis­trict for their cour­age and their ded­ic­a­tion and com­mit­ment to the com­munity.

The awards were presen­ted by at­tor­ney James J. Binns and mis­tress of ce­re­mon­ies Thera Mar­tin-Milling, who read a state­ment from Kit­chen.

Binns, a law­yer for more than 45 years, also served as guest speak­er. He foun­ded the pro­gram that ded­ic­ates plaques to po­lice of­ficers and fire­fight­ers who die in the line of duty. His Cop­wheels Inc. ini­ti­at­ive raises money for mo­tor­cycles, bi­cycles and weapons for the po­lice de­part­ment. He also chairs Hero Thrill Show Inc., which raises money to pay for the col­lege edu­ca­tion of chil­dren whose par­ents are killed in the line of duty.

Earli­er in the day, Binns ded­ic­ated a plaque at 16th and South streets in memory of a po­lice de­tect­ive shot to death way back in 1918. The ce­re­mony at­trac­ted nine re­l­at­ives of the of­ficer slain al­most a cen­tury ago.

Binns noted all of the re­cent shoot­ings and murders in Phil­adelphia, and poin­ted to that in­cid­ent 93 years ago. The mur­der­er of De­tect­ive George Wil­li­ams was ex­ecuted two years after the crime.

“That’s what we need in 2011,” he said.

In all, Binns has ded­ic­ated 234 plaques in Phil­adelphia and the sub­urbs since the pro­gram began a dec­ade ago. The total in­cludes 98 for Phil­adelphia po­lice of­ficers and 93 for city fire­fight­ers.

One of the next big dates on his cal­en­dar will take place at the Phil­adelphia Mu­seum of Art on Ju­ly 27, when he’ll donate two mo­tor­cycles and two horse trail­ers for the Moun­ted Patrol Unit, which will be re­in­stated after be­ing dis­ban­ded in 2004.

On Sept. 17, the 57th an­nu­al Hero Thrill Show will come to the Wells Fargo Cen­ter com­plex.

The show is be­ne­fit­ing the chil­dren of of­ficers slain in re­cent years. Robert Sker­ski is at La Salle Uni­versity. The three chil­dren of Chuck Cas­sidy all en­rolled at Gwynedd-Mercy Col­lege. Am­ber Liczb­in­ski is at Penn State. Jazmin Naz­ario and Terry and Sam­antha Simpson are about to start col­lege.

John Red­mond, a May­fair fire­fight­er who died in 1994 dur­ing a blaze at a South Phil­adelphia church, has chil­dren in col­lege.

The schol­ar­ship fund was cre­ated in 1954, fol­low­ing the death of 10 fire­fight­ers in an ex­plo­sion at a chem­ic­al plant at Fifth and Berks streets.

“These men and wo­men put it on the line every day of their lives,” Binns said.

All of the honorees re­ceived state pro­clam­a­tions.

The po­lice award re­cip­i­ents were Sgt. Chris­toph­er Binns and of­ficers Mi­chael Mochar­nuk and Fran­cis Whalen (SWAT); Charles Taylor and Bri­an Lorenzo (high­way patrol); James Wag­n­er and Dav­id Ben­vig­nati (2nd dis­trict); Joseph Ne­g­ler and Don­ald Ec­cle­ston (5th dis­trict); Mi­chael Murphy and Ter­rence Black (7th dis­trict); Sean Hart and Fran­cis O’Bri­en (14th dis­trict); Chris­toph­er Dougherty and Dav­id Rausch (22nd dis­trict); Sgt. Wali Shabazz and Of­ficer Ty­shaan Wil­li­ams (25th dis­trict); John Swift and Mi­chael Hand (26th dis­trict); Roslyn Down­ing and Jer­maine Dav­is (35th dis­trict); and Shane Getz and Ju­li­anne Bruhns (39th dis­trict).

In ad­di­tion, Capt. Mi­chael Cram, com­mand­er of the 26th Po­lice Dis­trict, re­ceived a spe­cial re­cog­ni­tion award.

The fire de­part­ment re­cip­i­ents were Sel­lus Mot­ley and Sylvester Bur­ton (Lad­der 29); Christine Lar­don and Ezequiel DaSilva (En­gine 29); Seth Ber­man (En­gine 51); Bern­ard Ford (En­gine 63); Lt. Charlton Med­ley (En­gine 45); Bri­an Deal (En­gine 55); Capt. Theo­philus Watkins (Lad­der 30); Lt. An­drew Brown (En­gine 2); Capt. Rod­ney Wright (En­gine 59); Lt. Kev­in Perry (En­gine 37); Fran­chot Robin­son and Ed­ward Wrenn (En­gine 19); Harry Downey (Lad­der 30); Capt. Mi­chael Jack­son and fire ser­vice para­med­ic Charles Tuttle (En­gine 71); para­med­ic Lawrence Be­l­it­sky (Med­ic 12/En­gine 71); and Wil­li­am Stew­art (bat­talion chief’s aide).

Also, the fire pre­ven­tion di­vi­sion earned a spe­cial re­cog­ni­tion award. ••

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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