Maryland State Police troopers gathered in the Bel Air Barrack Monday morning for a small awards ceremony.
The first award Lt. Charles Moore gave out, however, was not to a trooper, but a Baltimore County paramedic. Nathaniel Ryan Wells received the Good Citizen's Award for his efforts, along with Tfc. Walter Rasinski, on March 9, according to Moore.
Wells stepped in to help with a medical emergency that day after he saw Rasinski doing CPR on Rasinski's 61-year-old neighbor; Wells helped the trooper resuscitate the man, Moore added. Their joint effort that day saved the man, who is still alive today, he said.
Rasinski, too, was honored with a Commander's Award and also nominated for a life-saving award, Moore said.
"In my mind, this event is so significant and so rare that I felt I needed to honor it personally," he added.
Several troopers also received Commander's Awards, including Tfc. David D. Stanley and Steven T. Muehl, both for their performance with the Barrack in 2011. Stanley's number of arrests is "incredible," Moore said, and Muehl ranked second in overall performance last year.
Sgt. Jeffrey J. Kloiber also received a Commander's Award for filling in as the acting first sergeant for the Barrack while Sgt. Michael Wann was attending Northwestern University, Moore said. Cpl. Raymond J. Domico received the Non-commissioned Officer of the Year for his work as a top performing supervisor in the Bel Air Barrack. Domico, Moore said, set the standard for leadership through the department and the Barrack.
Moore also presented the Trooper of the Year award to Tfc. Michael J. Bonczewski for his performance in 2011. Last year, he made 46 DUI arrests, 67 criminal arrests and 23 narcotics arrests and issued a number of citations and warnings, which Moore said ranked him as the "undisputed" performance leader.
"I don't know how he does it," Moore added. "I couldn't do it when I was on the road."
Bonczewski received the Trooper of the Year award for 2010 as well.
Lt. Walter Kerr, of the Aviation Command, also presented Commander's Awards to the Bel Air Barrack as a whole and individual troopers for their efforts on Feb. 20, when a state police Medevac experienced engine failure while attempting to land at an accident scene on Route 543.
Bel Air Barrack personnel helped manage the landing, engine fire and removal of the helicopter, Kerr said. In addition to a certificate for the Barrack, several people on the scene were recognized, including Charles Bracken, Lt. Douglas J. Baralo, Rasinski, Kloiber, Muehl, Tfc. Adam G. Davies, Tfc. John J. Langenfelder and Cpl. Anthony Dudek.
Police Communications Officer II Veronica Bruns was also nominated by her supervisor, John "Boe" Kowalewski, for the 2010 APCO-International Public-Safety Communications Telecommunicator of the Year award.
Capt. Frank Lioi, commander of the Northern troop, also briefly spoke at the end of the awards ceremony, emphasizing how proud he is of the Bel Air Barrack and that it is one of the top performing barracks in the state.
"I'm extremely proud of Chuck and all of the troopers [who] do a good job day in and day out," he said.