Sunday, January 27, 2019

Mahanoy City Police Officers Honored for Their Heroics

Two Police Officers were honored for their heroics by the Mahanoy City Elks and other organizations.

In 2018, Mahanoy City Police Officers Jennifer Dempsey and Thomas "TJ" Rentschler were the first to arrive on the scene of a “911” call to find flames and heavy smoke coming from the front of a residence in the "Foundry Row" section of the borough.

Upon hearing yells for help from the second floor, they entered the home without hesitation and proceeded to the second floor despite heavy smoke and flames. They found an adult male and his 1-year old son in a bedroom and led them to safety.

On Saturday evening, the Mahanoy City Elks Lodge 695 held their 35th Annual Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award ceremony where Dempsey and Rentschler were both honored.

Toastmaster for the ceremony and Dinner was Elks District Deputy and Grand Exalted Ruler Gerard A. Kufrovich with Exalted Ruler of the Mahanoy City Elks, Nancy M. Boyle, welcoming those in attendance.

After a dinner catered by A & C Catering, Dempsey and Rentschler was honored.

Kufrovich introduced Christine Verdier, Chief of Staff for Senator Argall and a friend of Dempsey's.

Verdier spoke about her friendship with Dempsey and working together when they were both employed with Schuylkill Township.

"We saw someone who had some excellent credentials coming in, not just as a new officer, but a mother, EMT, and someone we could really count on and trust out in the field" said Verdier.

Also introduced was Mahanoy Township Police Chief Brandon Alexander, who spoke about Rentschler.

Alexander said "TJ has always a been an officer who has been committed to keeping the community safe and a better place for everyone.  I'm not only grateful to have worked along side him but to also call him a great friend."

Alexander finished with "Officer Dempsey and Officer Rentschler, without hesitation ran into a burning building to save a father and son.  They are true heroes in our community, they didn't allow fear or hesitation to stop them from saving any lives.  Because of that, the father and son are alive today.".

DDGER Kurfovich presented both Officer Dempsey and Officer Rentschler with the Distinguished Citizenship Award for their outstanding meritorious service to humanity from Elks Lodge 695 and the Grand Lodge of Benevolence Order of the Elks.

Exalted Ruler Boyle presented both, on behalf of Lodge 695, the award for their recognition of outstanding contributions to their community.

Katie Hetherington Cunfer, Deputy District Director for Congressman Dan Mueser, also presented a proclamation from the 9th Congressional District and on behalf of Schuylkill County Commissioner George Halcovage.

Christine Verdier, Chief of Staff for Pennsylvania Senator David Argall, also presented a proclamation from the 29th Senatorial District.

Finally Kufrovich added "Not many communities have heroes, but here in our small town of Mahanoy City, we are proud, because we have 2, right here in our presence."

Speaking to those that attended, Rentschler commented "It's truly an honor to be appreciated in the community.  We don't go to work everyday and set out for this or for attention.  We come to work to do our job at the best of our ability.  At the end of the day, we get to go with the feeling that we did the best we did."

"Thank you for everything you have done, both of us have been first responders for so long, we just like to go out and help people.  Thank you to the community" commented Dempsey.

Finally, past recipients of the Citizen of the Year were recognized, those in attendance were:

  • Ruth Jane Balliett
  • William Sullenberger
  • Louis Truskowsky
  • Kathleen Wufsus
  • James T. Mayberry
  • Jennifer Dempsey
  • Thomas "TJ" Rentschler

Pictures and Story by J. Reed

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