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February 3, 2010: City Commission proclaims Black History Month and recognizes firefighters

During the Tuesday, February 2, City Commission meeting, officials recognized the 2010 Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee members, as well as event sponsors, for their outstanding support. Committee members are: Chair Patrick Campbell, Vice Chair Ainsworth Clarke, Henry Andre, Jackie Bolden, Mildred Bryant, Joyce Campos, Cheryl Cooper, Carolyn Courtney, Bessie Cristwell, Mark Gendal, Marie Giacalone, Matt Hoffman, Amber Lorello, Lorraine Mayers, Dorothy Ruffin, Paulette Samai, Michael Singer, Flora Stitt, Herbert Taylor, Reginald Smith, Arianna Valin, Andrea Whittaker and Emma Winston.

The event would not have been possible without the support of the following sponsors: Citibank (Title Sponsor); Wal-Mart (Silver Sponsor); Coral Springs Advanced Cable Communications, Forum Publishing Group and Our Town News (Media Sponsors); Abundant Life Christian Academy, Florida Power and Light, The Links North Broward Chapter (Bronze Sponsors); McKinley Financial Services, Inc., Drs. Jeffrey Reisch & Mark Gendal from Vision World (Emerald Sponsors); Costco, Florida Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Kilwin’s Ice Cream at the Walk and Whole Foods Market (In-Kind Sponsors). The Commission also recognized Westchester Elementary students for their recent performance at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration.

“Thank you to all of our sponsors. We couldn’t do it without you and it was a great event,” Mayor Scott Brook said. “We also want to thank the Committee from the bottom of our hearts for working so hard, so diligently and for putting on such a wonderful event that makes a great difference to the community and for families that are in financial need who are sending off their kids to college next year.”

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Fund, which awards college scholarships to financially needy local high school students who embody Dr. King’s vision through their words and actions. In 2009, the committee handed out 18 scholarships worth $1,000 each to deserving high school students.

Commissioners also proclaimed the month of February 2010 as Black History Month in recognition of the extraordinary contributions that African Americans have made to our community and to our nation.

Lastly, City officials recognized four Coral Springs firefighters with an Award of Appreciation for their courageous rescue efforts in Haiti after the catastrophic earthquake that struck on January 12. On Monday, January 25, all four firefighters, who are volunteer members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR) based in Miami, returned from Haiti.
“Even with all the training and preparation that goes in to their deployment, it didn’t prepare them for what they saw when they got there. Some of them were deployed to New Orleans and Mississippi, but this deployment is something they will never forget,” Fire Chief Mark Curran said. “We are very proud of them. Being part of the Search and Rescue Team is a huge commitment and they train all year for incidents just like this.”

Battalion Chief Mike McNally, Captain Mike Caldaro, Captain Joe Russoniello, and Captain Mike Moser are part of a specialized group that responds when called upon in the event of man-made or natural disasters. 

“What we enjoy the most is being able to bring back the training that we learn from USAR here to the residents of Coral Springs,” Moser said.

In all, the Coral Springs Fire Department has 18 members that belong to USAR. Members of the team reported devastation that they had never seen before, saying that the damage was even worse than what was shown on television. This brave group rose to the task, working through aftershocks that continued to strike the region, and saving multiple lives through their efforts.

“I don’t even have the words to tell you how much we appreciate your willingness and sacrifice to put yourselves in danger to help rescue other people from another nation,” Brook said.
Photos of these recognitions will be available on Wednesday, February 3 at 

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