Colorado Springs firefighters honored for responses to shootings
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Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe lifts the Lombardi Trophy on the stage of a Super Bowl 50 celebration as it was being passed from player to player. A million people gathered to welcome home the Broncos with a parade and rally in downtown Denver on Tuesday, February 9, 2016 Photo by Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette

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Dozens of Colorado Springs firefighters were honored during an awards banquet last week for their actions in two deadly mass shootings.

About 350 people attended the department ceremony Friday that recognized more than 50 first responders, according to a news release Tuesday.

Lt. Kris Soppe, Capt. Tom Ruane and firefighters Jeremy Kunze, Jamie Gutschick, Mike Polletta, Justin Cihak, Landon Mauck and Chris Villegas received Medal of Valor awards for their assistance in an Oct. 31 shooting in downtown Colorado Springs. A gunman killed three people during the rampage before he was shot and killed by police in a shootout.

Other Medal of Valor recipients were Lt. Brian Myers and firefighters Bo Hutchinson, Andrew Lowe, Craig Staloway, Erik Long and Cameron Halverson, who assisted in the hourslong Nov. 27 shooting at the city's Planned Parenthood clinic. Three people were killed and nine others were wounded.

Lt. Steve Winters and firefighter Brian Koontz also earned Medal of Valor awards for their response to a deadly motel fire in Colorado Springs in May.

Capt. Steve Oswald, a Fire Department spokesman, was named Firefighter of the Year, and fire marshal Brett Lacey earned Civilian of the Year.

Luis Pacheco was recognized as the IAFF Local No. 5 Firefighter of the Year.

"The CSFD is a world class department with a lot of great people," Fire Chief Christopher Riley said in a statement, "so it is an honor to be able to recognize so many of our staff with these well-deserved awards."



Chhun Sun is a sports reporter with an emphasis in preps. He joined The Gazette in April 2015 and covered public safety for three years before joining @gazettepreps staff. The Thailand-born Cambodian-American has been in journalism for nearly two decades.

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