2 city employees recognized for valor

KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette Williamsport Mayor Gabriel J. Campana, right, presents the Mayor’s Award of Valor to city Public Works employees Dave Johns, left, and Tom Gotshall, right, for going above and beyond their duties during the snowstorm in March. The two freed a stuck ambulance that was on its way to an emergency call.

Two city Streets and Parks Department employees who dug out an ambulance stuck in deep snow in March were recognized Thursday as the first recipients of the Mayor’s Award for Valor.

Dave Johns and Tom Gotshall were called out at about 1 p.m. March 14 to the 700 block of First Avenue, where the ambulance was responding to a call for a sick woman at the Presbyterian Home.

It was in the midst of winter storm Stella, which had dropped short of 20 inches on the city by the time it was over.

The men shoveled the snow and one jumped in the driver’s seat and drove the vehicle out of the deep pile, said Tom Cillo, general manager of the Streets and Parks Department.

He credited the men for their instinctiveness and said they must have had the right upbringing, with parents showing them support, and that resulted in professional employees who exemplified the meaning of valor.

In addition, a paramedic at the ceremony said another ambulance was dispatched to pick up the patient.

James Slotterback, of UPMC Susquehanna, said it does not matter the profession — these men personified the meaning of caring and valor.

Their plaques said Johns’ and Gotshall’s “courage, tenacity, wisdom and caring have made a unique contribution to the health and safety of citizens of city and Pennsylvania and whose selfless actions have demonstrated the highest level of public safety performance, which set a standard for all citizens of the nation.”

Campana, who presented the awards at the Williamsport Green, said he will recognize those who contribute to the health and safety of the city’s citizens.