Camden Co. honors local heroes at scholarship dinner

February 23, 2013 7:10:14 AM PST
Camden County honored local heroes Friday night during the 47th Annual Hero Scholarship Awards dinner.

Firefighters, police officers and EMT's filled Lucien's Manor in Berlin for the annual benefit.

The dinner helps raise money for the Camden County Hero Scholarship Fund but also recognizes bravery in the line of duty.

Camden Firefighters Gamalia Rivera and Orlando Nunez received a Distinguished Service Award for saving a child from a burning home in May, encountering extreme heat and flames.

"We hugged the right side of the wall, ran as you go, and luckily we found the baby," said Gamalia Rivera. "It feels great. I'm just honored to be here."

"This is our job. This is what we love to do. We are paid to do it. It's in our nature," said Orlando Nunez.

Haddonfield Police Corporal Stuart Holloway received a Meritorious Award for performing CPR on an 8-month-old who stopped breathing. The child is alive and well today thanks to his actions.

"That's why we are here. We are here to solve crimes, but more importantly to help and protect the public; to do what we need to do day-to-day," said Cpl. Stuart Holloway.

Gloucester Township Police Sergeants James Garber and Kevin Thyne received Purple Heart Awards.

They engaged in a gun battle with Eddie Jones inside the Gloucester police station in December.

Jones, who was under arrest, had wrestled a service pistol from their colleague. Sgt. Garber was hit in the stomach and foot; Sgt. Thyne was grazed several times.

The two officers were able to shoot and kill Jones.

The officers could not comment due to the pending investigation, but their chief spoke of their valiant effort.

"I'm very proud of their actions and proud of all the men and women of the Gloucester Police Department, thankful that they are very safe and recovering very well, and thankful that an organization like this takes the time to recognize their great acts of bravery," said Gloucester Township Police Chief Harry Earle.

The money raised at the 47th annual dinner will go to help pay for the education of a child of an emergency responder in Camden County. The 2013 scholarship recipient will be announced until May.