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Exchange honors emergency members

ALBANY Ga. -- Emergency responders honored by the Exchange Club of Albany at lunch Friday humbly accepted their plaques as the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks drew near.

The opening prayer by Leonard Knight for the club meeting set the tone. "Lord make a special place of thankfulness for those who put their lives on the line every day to keep our community safe."

Jeff Rambo was named "Dougherty County Emergency Services First Responder of the Year." His supervisor Bobby Tripp expounded on the Rambo's dedication, competency, kindness and patience with his injured or ill clients.

"The most difficult response he had was something we all fear," Tripp said. "He responded to a call about a Dougherty County Police Officer shot."

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Ray Hinman, left, president of the Exchange Club of Albany, congratulates Dougherty County Emergency Medical Services paramedic Jeff Rambo on his being named emergency medical responder of the year Friday.

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Firefighter Frank Flanigan thanks his colleagues and the Exchange Club of Albany for honoring him Friday as the Firefighter of the Year.

Police Lt. Cliff Rouse was killed in December after he responded to a convenience store robbery. Rouse and Rambo were friends.

"He (Rambo) put his emotions aside and acted with professionalism when he dealt with the injuries," Tripp said. "Unfortunately Rouse died."

Rouse's death resonated with all first responders not just those who were at the scene. Rambo thanked his team for the support they always give him.

"That call last December was tough on all of us," Rambo said. "It is a privilege to work with such good paramedics, doctors and nurses as a team and hat is how we function so well together."

Frank Flanigan, honored as the firefighter of the year was described as dedicated, passionate, talented and an overachiever by Assistant Fire Department Chief Ron Rowe.

An emergency situation described by Rowe led to Flanigan's selection. On Aug. 1, a call came to Station 9 while Flanigan was in charge about a man trapped inside an industrial machine.

"His arm was entangled up to his armpit in an industrial-sized, ice-making machine," Rowe said. "The man's arm was literally serpentine in the mechanism. The man was conscious, in a tremendous amount of pain and losing blood."

Flanigan supervised his team at the scene. "He comforted the trapped man and performed extrication procedures simultaneously. Because of his outstanding knowledge, skills and abilities on this incident, which allowed for the man's arm to be saved, Frank Flanigan is our 2011 firefighter of the year."

Flanigan gave kudos to those he worked with as a team and thanked the Exchangites for the honor.

"I was totally blessed by being left in charge of Station 9," Flanigan said. "It is a real honor to work with and command a team of skilled firefighters."

Due to Sunday's remembrance of 9/11 Fire Chief James Carswell spoke about the responders who lost their lives in the 2001 terrorist attack during a slide show of pictures from that day.

Firefighters raised 343 knee-high crosses in front of the fire department headquarters Tuesday to commemorate the loss. A day or two later Carswell said that a large cross was erected for the more than 1,000 firefighters across the country who had given their lives in service to their communities since 9/11.

"Sometimes we forget that others give their lives," Carswell said. "They should also be remembered for their sacrifice."