SHREWSBURY – Residents gathered at the Shrewsbury Fire Department on Aug. 9 for the annual Firefighter Awards Ceremony, which is an event honoring the town’s firefighters.
Under a bright red canopy, they welcomed new firefighters Jonathan Evangelou and Adonis Claderon and celebrated Bob Ljunggren, Adam Towner, Dave Muntz and Brendan Palumbo, who were all promoted to lieutenant.
Muntz said he is “extremely fortunate” to have joined the Shrewsbury Fire Department 10 years ago.
“It truly is the best job in the world,” he said. “Every shift there are different challenges and something new to learn. I am very proud to have been promoted to lieutenant and with the support of my fellow firefighters and officers, I am looking forward to increasing my knowledge and skills within the fire service.”
Many firefighters received awards for their selfless work and dedication to the town: Shawn Green received the 2021 Outstanding Firefighter Award; Adam Towner received the 2021 Service and Achievement Award; and Ljunggren, Rory Ahern and Ben Gerber received the 2021 Life Saver Awards.
“It’s nice to be recognized by the department. Everything we do is always a team sport, so I wouldn’t have been able to do any of the things I have without the help from all of the other guys,” Towner said.
Chief Jim Vuona said the ceremony gives the fire department an opportunity to “recognize extraordinary effort and initiative” taken by the firefighters.
“I am proud of their efforts and I highly respect the professional manner in which these individuals conduct themselves on calls and within the community,” said Vuona. “All firefighters and public officials are held to a higher standard than the general public and our award winners have shown themselves to be among the best of the best.”
Vuona, who spoke specifically about the 2021 Life Saver Award, said the people who were saved had stopped breathing and were brought back to life thanks to the training, dedication and hands-on efforts of the firefighters.
Ljunggren said he was in “the right spot at the right time.”
“Even though the accident didn’t occur in Shrewsbury, and I was not on duty, not stopping to help was not an option,” he said. “Even though I arrived first on scene, it was a total team effort with the Westborough Fire Department.”
While Ahern said it was nice to be recognized, he said saving a life was much more rewarding.
“I can’t think of anything else that would make me feel more satisfied than being a firefighter,” he said. “It’s a wonderful profession. I’ve been doing it for 10 years.”