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Abingdon EMS chief honored for actions after Edgewood workplace shooting

Abingdon Fire Company EMS Chief Susie Tingler accepts a certificate for meritorious service from Chief Rob Glassman at the company banquet Saturday at Level Fire Hall. Tingler was honored for her role in saving two people injured in a workplace shooting in Edgewood last October.
Abingdon Fire Company EMS Chief Susie Tingler accepts a certificate for meritorious service from Chief Rob Glassman at the company banquet Saturday at Level Fire Hall. Tingler was honored for her role in saving two people injured in a workplace shooting in Edgewood last October. (David Anderson/The Aegis / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Susie Tingler, Abingdon Volunteer Fire Company’s EMS chief, wiped away tears as Chief Rob Glassman described how she and other EMS workers — protected by police — went into Advanced Granite Solutions in Edgewood on Oct 18, 2017 and saved two people who had been injured in a mass shooting.

Glassman honored Tingler “for putting herself in harm’s way to serve her community.” He presented a certificate for meritorious service to her during the company’s annual awards banquet Saturday evening at the Level Fire Hall.

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Five people were shot at Advanced Granite Solutions, three fatally, and a sixth person was shot in Delaware before the suspect, Radee L. Prince, of Elkton, was captured in the Wilmington area where he had fled and killed another person.

Glassman said he and Tingler had attended a “rescue task force” training session in September. Jeremy Mothershed, a Harford County Sheriff’s Office deputy and volunteer EMS worker, developed the training so local fire and EMS personnel could advance under police cover and get to the victims of an active shooter, The Baltimore Sun reported.

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Glassman recalled a moderator stressing during the training that “it wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when” an active shooter would strike in Harford County.

“We didn’t know that day was going to come on Oct. 18 at Advanced Granite Solutions,” Glassman said.

He said Mothershed was one of the first deputies to arrive at the shooting scene, and he said a rescue task force needed to be set up.

Tingler was the first responder from Abingdon on the scene. She and EMS workers from the Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company volunteered to go in, Glassman said.

“Due to the fact that they went in when they did, they were able to provide care to two of the people in there and had a successful outcome,” he said.

Tingler, who said later she went into the factory with Drew Halman, of Joppa-Magnolia, said Mothershed “played the biggest role in bringing the agencies together.”

Tingler, who works for the Federal Highway Administration, has been in EMS for 17 years. Her husband, Anthony, is an EMS captain with Abingdon, and he also responded to the shooting.

“This was probably one of my most emotional calls in the 17 years that I've been [in emergency services],” she said.

Top awards for 2017

Abingdon handled 1,019 fire calls, 4,107 EMS calls and 714 combined fire and EMS calls, for 5,840 total calls for service in 2017, according to the banquet program.

Brett Boyce was named Firefighter of the Year and Dale Gempko was named EMS Person of the Year on Saturday.

Probationary member Eric Vanderwiele was named the inaugural Rookie of the Year.

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Rob and Valerie Glassman received the Lew and Frances Espey Married Couple Award.

Angel Lea Tolliver was inducted into the Harford-Cecil Volunteer Firemen’s Association Hall of Fame for auxiliary members. Her parents, Joe Tolliver, past president of the association, and Ruth Tolliver, chair of the Hall of Fame committee, presented the award.

“She learned from each auxiliary member how to be a better person,” Ruth Tolliver, chair of Abingdon’s Technical Support Unit, or auxiliary, said. “She learned dedication to family and the community to help where and when she could.”

Ruth Tollilver said later that nominees for the Hall of Fame are submitted by their fire companies, and the inductees are selected by a six-person committee — three members from Cecil County and three from Harford — and she does not have a vote as the chair.

She and her husband travel to fire banquets throughout Cecil and Harford to present Hall of Fame awards, and she said she was “lucky enough” to present it to her daughter Saturday.

Ruth Tolliver also presided over the presentation of the Technical Support Unit’s contributions of $550 to the Charlie Riley Community Service Scholarship Foundation, named for Abingdon life member and past chief Charles W. Riley, who died in 2005.

This year’s gift was presented in honor of Phoebe "Sis" Virginia Riley, widow of Mr. Riley. Mrs. Riley died Jan. 14, according to her obituary on the McComas Funeral Homes website.

The auxiliary also presented a $10,000 contribution for Abingdon’s EMS operations.

The company memorialized two members who died during 2017. Thirty-year member Kenneth Hamilton, 68, of Edgewood, died April 11, and five-year member Andrew Goodwin, 27, of Aberdeen, died Aug. 24, according to the program.

Top responders

Abingdon’s top fire responders for 2017 were Christopher Breslin, who had 524 calls, Aleq Lewis, 451; Devonte Macklin, 437; Jesse Spruell, 391; Samuel Hobbs III, 376; Rob Glassman, 367; Zachary Boyce, 346; Charles Williams, 341; Benjamin Keck Jr., 340; Eric Lopes, 315; Jeremy Drehmer, 307; Ryan Githens Sr., 302; Collin Hobbs, 298; Brett Boyce, 263; Kenneth Vanderwiele, 260; Jonathan Hofmeister, 250; Albert Bair Jr., 211; Paul Boniface, 178; Timothy Hamilton, 177, and Damian Clark, 167 calls.

The top EMS responders were Aleq Lewis, with 394 calls, Susan Tingler, 184; Dom Marion-Henson, 152; Jacquelyn Amato, 115; Rodnie Matute, 109; Steven Duvall, 102; Donna Averion-Laird, 73; Robert Mauro, 72; Shana McClune, 67; Syndnee Holquist, 65; Sean Mauro, 63; Gregory Irvin, 59; Michelle Ruby, 58; Eric Lopes, 55; Steven Muccioli, 54; Ronald Brown, 53; Shaun Kane, 50; Jessica Fiedler, 45, Dale Gempko, 39 and Ryan Githens, 35 calls.

Years of service

Company members Samantha English, Lauren Foster, Fritz Gaubatz, Matthew Lee, Alfreda Martin, Devonte Macklin and Dennis Williams were honored for five years of service.

Donald Allen Jr., Ryan Glode, Toloria Spruell, Jamie Taylor and Eric Lopes were honored for 10 years, Peter Von Bank II for 20 years and Timothy Hamilton for 25 years of service.

Presidential honors

New company President Donna Averion-Laird received a recognition from Tingler Saturday for her service to the company and its members.

“Any little task, any big task Donna is always the first to do it, no matter what,” said Tingler, who gave Averion-Laird a framed photo collage.

Charles Williams was also recognized for his nine years of service as president.

He told the audience he joined his “second family” in 2004 after retiring from the Baltimore City Fire Department.

He urged elected officials present, especially Harford County Council members, to increase county funding for the local volunteer fire companies that provide Harford’s fire and EMS service.

Fire companies throughout the county face the challenge of recruiting volunteers, rising operating costs along with the cost of paying paramedics to augment their volunteer EMS workers.

“We’re running into trouble,” Williams said. “We need finances, and we hope you [council members] can do something about that.”

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He stressed to his fellow members that he is “not going anywhere.”

“I’ll be around to help you, and thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to work for you,” Williams said.

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