U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged President Barack Obama to expeditiously review a request for the four West Webster Firefighters, who were violently attacked by a gunman on Christmas Eve, to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A petition with over 25,000 signatures was recently sent to the White House asking for the designation. Schumer today wrote to President Obama in support of the petition's request and urged the White House to rightfully honor these four volunteer firefighters for their bravery, service, and sacrifice.
"Lt. Chiaperini, Firefighter Kaczowka, Firefighter Hofsetter and Firefighter Scardino will forever be known as local heroes in Monroe County and are most deserving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom," said Schumer. "What happened on Christmas Eve was a heart-wrenching tragedy that not only affected the Webster community but people from all across the nation. These four volunteer firefighters deserve to be honored with this award, as they sacrificed their safety, and some paid the ultimate price, in order to protect others."
On Christmas Eve, West Webster firefighters were responding to a fire when they were ambushed by a gunman. Lieutenant Mike Chiaperini and Firefighter Tomasz Kaczowka were tragically killed that morning and Firefighter Joseph Hofsetter and Firefighter Theodore Scardino were seriously injured.
An online petition, created by Paul Hood, was posted on the White House website requesting that President Obama award these four brave firefighters with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The petition has been signed by people from all across the nation and currently has over 25,000 signatures.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is considered the highest civilian award of the United States government and was established by President Kennedy in 1963 to recognize individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the nation. Honorees are selected by the President and may be awarded posthumously.
Schumer today announced support for this request and called on the White House to expeditiously review the petition. In his letter, Schumer noted the selfless commitment that Lieutenant Mike Chiapperini, Firefighter Tomasz Kaczowka, Firefighter Joseph Hofsetter and Firefighter Theodore Scardino encompassed to protect their community. Schumer went on to say that these four firefighters deserve the nation's utmost respect for their sacrifices and deserve to be honored.
A copy of Schumer's letter can be found below:
Dear President Obama,
I write in support of a petition that has now been signed by over 25,000 individuals to respectfully request that four Firefighters who served with the West Webster Volunteer Fire Department in New York be considered for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. I ask that you give this petition prompt and fair consideration in light of the heroic service provided by these firefighters who put their lives on the line to keep their community and nation safe.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom was created by President Kennedy in 1963 and remains the highest civilian award of the United States government. The award recognizes persons who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace; or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
Our firefighters volunteer to risk their lives to keep us safe and deserve our nation's utmost respect for the sacrifices they make every day. This selfless commitment to protect their community and nation was typified on Christmas Eve 2012 by Lieutenant Mike Chiapperini, Firefighter Tomasz Kaczowka, Firefighter Joseph Hofsetter and Firefighter Theodore Scardino. These brave firefighters, while responding to a fire at 5:30 a.m. on Christmas Eve, were ambushed by a gunman killing Lt. Chiaperini and Firefighter Kaczowka and severely injuring Firefighters Hofsetter and Scardino.
In answering the call for assistance and sacrificing their safety in order to protect others and ensure the safety of their neighbors and community, these firefighters truly deserve to be honored. Again, I appreciate your consideration of my request to expeditiously review this petition.
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer