New London — The New London VFW has named city firefighters Michael Coleman and Michael Kuchyt the Firefighters of the Year.
The two will be among others honored Saturday at the VFW’s 43rd annual awards presentation at the VFW Post at 110 Garfield Ave. The VFW will award Officer Jeremy Zelinski the Police Officer of the Year award for his work ethic, professionalism and commitment. Other honorees include VFW member Richard Brooks and VFW Ladies Auxiliary member Emily-Anne Green, who is active duty U.S. Navy.
Coleman and Kuchyt are being honored for their actions during an April 13, 2012, fire at 36 Blinman St. Both men, who were assigned to an ambulance at the time, searched the house without the protection of a hose line at extreme personal risk and removed an unconscious occupant from the home, according to Chief Henry E. Kydd Jr.
Investigators would later learn the fire may have been intentionally set to cover the murder of Noel Starback, 57, and Sherry Roush, 50.
Both men were already honored with a commendation of merit, the second-highest department award, for their lifesaving effort while putting themselves at personal risk. Kydd said they will be recognized by the department again on Saturday.
“They are very professional and good at their jobs, a testament to their training,” Kydd said. “They just perform at a high level all the time.”
— Greg Smith