Milwaukee firefighter receives 2009 Courage & Valor Award

PennWell Corporation presented Milwaukee (WI) Fire Department Firefighter Anthony Rueda with the 2009 Ray Downey Courage & Valor Award during the opening ceremonies of the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) held April 21-24 at the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium.

Firefighter Anthony Rueda received the award for his display of extraordinary courage and valor in the early morning hours of May 22, 2008. On that morning at 2:47 a.m., Engine 5 received an alarm to report to a house fire. Four Milwaukee Fire Department members, including Captain Theodore Stribling and Anthony Rueda, arrived on the scene three minutes later. On arrival, Engine 21 was extinguishing the fire. The 2½-family house appeared to be vacant; however, Captain Stribling and Firefighter Rueda immediately went inside to begin search and rescue efforts.

As Rueda and Stribling continued their search and rescue efforts on hands and knees, the floor caved in. Rueda remembered trying to grab a nearby staircase, which also fell into the basement and landed on top of them.

Rueda hit the basement floor and quickly covered his head in an effort to protect himself from anything else that might fall. His next thought was the location of the captain. He looked around and found the captain, who was unresponsive. He attempted to wake the captain and remove him from the debris. The captain did not respond. Rueda, who did not have a radio, grabbed the captain’s radio and transmitted a Mayday. He then dragged the unconscious captain by the straps of his breathing apparatus to the back door, where outside crews forced entry. He then helped transport the captain into the backyard, to a paramedic unit. Rueda did all of this despite injuries he sustained to his lower back, neck, and shoulder. Captain Stribling sustained a head injury and broken ribs.

Addressing a standing-room-only crowd of several thousand firefighters from around the world, PennWell Corporation’s President and CEO Robert F. Biolchini stated, “This morning, we gather to honor another true American hero, Milwaukee Firefighter Anthony Rueda, a second generation firefighter. Last year, Anthony’s extraordinary act of bravery under difficult conditions resulted in saving the life of Milwaukee Fire Captain Theodore Stribling. Firefighter Rueda’s actions reflect on the fire service’s true extraordinary values. Today we recognize him individually but also in a greater sense, honor his actions which exemplify the spirit of fire service enacted by firefighters each and every day.”

The Courage and Valor Foundation, created by PennWell Corporation to ensure that the world forever remembers the sacrifices made by heroic FDNY members on September 11, 2001, annually presents the Ray Downey Courage & Valor Award at FDIC. The award is a medal as well as a check for $35,000. FDIC, owned and produced by PennWell, is the world’s largest firefighter training event, bringing together more than 30,000 fire service professionals each year. In the spirit of the heroism displayed on September 11, this award recognizes extraordinarily courageous American firefighters each year. The award is named in honor of Deputy Chief Ray Downey, who as part of FEMA’s US&R program, helped Governor Frank Keating after the Murrah Building Bombing in Oklahoma City in 1995, and who was chief of rescue operations and 39-year veteran of the Fire Department of New York. Downey lost his life when he elected to remain in the World Trade Center to save others on September 11. He was the most highly decorated firefighter in the history of New York.

About PennWell

PennWell Corporation is a diversified business-to-business media and information company that provides quality content and integrated marketing solutions for the following industries: Oil and gas, electric power, water, electronics, semiconductor, contamination control, optoelectronics, fiberoptics, enterprise storage, fire, emergency services and dental. Founded in 1910, PennWell publishes 75 print and online magazines and newsletters, conducts 60 conferences and exhibitions on six continents, and has an extensive offering of books, maps, web sites, research and database services. In addition to PennWell’s headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the company has major offices in Nashua, New Hampshire; Houston, Texas; London, England; Campbell, California; Fairlawn, New Jersey; Moscow, Russia; and Hong Kong, China. For additional information about PennWell, visit

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