Ocala Fire Rescue had two men recognized by 97.3 The SKY Valor Awards, celebrated today at Hilton Ocala. FEO James Williams IV, and Chaplain Joe LaCognata, who also serves Marion County Fire Rescue, were honored for their outstanding work as first responders.
FEO Williams, was nominated after his benevolent actions off the clock became departmental knowledge. Williams, an avid runner, was participating in the Spacecoast Marathon at Cocoa Beach, Florida when he came across a medically distressed woman in need of immediate assistance. Without a second thought he stopped to aid her until paramedics arrived. Only after care had been transferred did he complete the two mile stretch left to finish the twenty-six mile marathon.
Just like FEO Williams, Chaplain LaCognata was honored; not for a particular incident, but for the exceptional dedication and selflessness he demonstrates on a daily basis. It is the support of chaplains like LaCognata who allow departments in which stressful situations are never too far away, which help us make bearable situations out of otherwise unbearable ones.
Ocala Fire Rescue is very proud of the nominations of these two men, but it is their unmistakable drive to help others, even when no one is looking, which we celebrate most.
Photo: FEO Williams, (light blue uniform shirt – top row, third from right to left) standing with fellow honored officials; Chaplain LaCognata was unable to attend.