Plainfield volunteers honored for service in 2017

Two PEMAS members “went above and beyond” in answering emergency call outs

By Marney Simon | Enterprise Staff

Two village volunteers have been lauded by members of the village board for their service to the community.

On Jan. 8, Plainfield Police Chief John Konopek presented awards for exemplary service to two members of the Plainfield Emergency Management Agency (PEMA).

“The Plainfield Emergency Management Agency, aside from Commander Ruggles and myself, is made up entirely of volunteer members of our community, who put in a number of hours throughout the year for educational purposes, emergency preparedness, they do work special events,” Konopek said. “They also provide one of the first lines of defense for severe weather and other emergencies and, unfortunately, disasters that happen to our community from time to time.”

Konopek said the volunteers are available at any time, day or night.

At an awards ceremony last month, members were honored for their service. Two members, according to Konopek, went above and beyond in 2017.

Konopek said the volunteers respond to planned events, and also to special call outs throughout the year.

“Call outs entail severe weather spotting, the CN train derailment, house fires, car accidents, wires down, things like that throughout the course of the year,” Konopek said.

PEMA responded to 28 call outs in 2017. PEMA volunteer Alex Bromberek responded to the most of those calls, answering 21 of 28 call outs last year.

“From those 21 call outs, he put in over 80 hours of service just on those call outs alone,” Konopek said. “So, basically, two weeks of work just for those call outs.”

Volunteer Matt Rakauskas was honored for the most volunteer hours in 2017. Those hours include call outs and planned events, such as parades and planned traffic control.

“Throughout the years, our volunteers, as a whole, volunteer or donate thousands of hours,” Konopek said. “This year, we were at 4,000-plus hours of volunteer service through our emergency management agency. Matt alone accounted for over 10 percent of that, he put in over 440 hours of volunteer service throughout the year.”

Emergency management divisions across the state exist to prepare for emergencies that are inevitable, due to either natural or man-made disasters.

PEMA serves as the main coordination point between all emergency services within the Village of Plainfield.

The primary mission of PEMA is to plan for, respond to, and assist in the recovery from any major emergency or disaster. Volunteers train and engage in activities related to homeland security, emergency preparedness, severe weather spotting, hazard mitigation, hazardous materials awareness, Ground Search and Rescue, and compliance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

More information on PEMA can be found online, at plainfieldema.org.

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