Posted: 12:00 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013

Washington Twp.

Firefighter receives Robert O’Toole award


Firefighter receives Robert O’Toole award photo
Bob Burkman (right), president of the Centerville Noon Optimist Club, presents Greg Ortel with Robert O Toole Award. CONTRIBUTED

By Virginia Burroughs

Contributing Writer

Greg Ortel worked alongside Washington Twp. firefighter Robert O’Toole on various occasions for six years before O’Toole was hit by a car and killed in 1998 while helping at an accident scene on I-675.

Last month, Ortel was presented with the Robert O’Toole Award from the Centerville Noon Optimists for his own service with the Washington Twp. Fire Department.

“I was very honored and humbled that peers would nominate me and I’d be selected, especially since this is in Bob’s name,” said Ortel.

Ortel, who’s worked with the Washington Twp. Fire Department for 21 years, knew he wanted to be a firefighter while still a student at Fairmont High School.

“My dad was a Kettering firefighter, and I grew up in a fire station and knew that was what I wanted to do.”

Ortel graduated in 1991, enrolled in the basic firefighting class with Kettering, and started a degree program in fire science at Sinclair. He worked on the Kettering Fire Department with his father until he was hired on as part-time in Washington Twp. He also works full-time with the Oakwood Fire Department.

“Each year, a full and part-time firefighter are selected for the O’Toole award,” said Washington Twp. Fire Chief William Gaul. “There’s criteria that the Noon Optimists follow for who performed above and beyond; Greg was among five to seven part-time firefighters nominated, and was the unanimous choice.”

Gaul, who was Ortel’s Explorer’s Post leader when he was just coming out of high school, said “Greg follows directions and rules, and takes on additional responsibilities and projects. He goes out of his way to take young firefighters under his wing and mentor them; experience can’t be taught, but he walks them through the process and procedures.”

Ortel’s latest project was the delivery of a new fire engine with extrication capabilities. “I was on the committee to acquire that, and physically helped put it together,” he said.

He was presented the award at a luncheon held by the Centerville Noon Optimists. “The deputy chief and chief were there, along with my family and friends — I have a lot of support that I’m grateful for.”

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