DuPage club honors police, firefighters for acts of valor
Four Westmont cops who disarmed a gunman and two Glenside firefighters who raced into a burning house twice to rescue victims were honored for their acts of bravery.
The Hundred Club of DuPage bestowed Awards of Valor at its annual meeting this week in Lisle. Those honored were police officers John Majeski, Gregory Hausner, Sean Ryan and David Hamblin, and firefighters Michael Small and Chris Wallin.
"Once a year we honor public safety personnel whose service went above and beyond the call of duty at the risk of their own lives and safety," club President Lisa Savegnago said. "These honorees have shown exemplary valor and we are honored to share their stories and recognize them as heroes in our communities."
The Westmont officers were responding to report of a man with a gun when they entered a home in August 2011 and encountered a troubled man wielding a fully loaded .22 caliber revolver.
The man, who had pulled the gun earlier on paramedics trying to help him, pointed it at Majeski and had his finger on the trigger, officials said. As the man's wife struggled with him, the four officers rushed him and wrested away the gun.
Westmont Police Chief Thomas Mulhearn called it an "outstanding act of bravery ... in the face of personal injury and risk to themselves."
"Their actions displayed unbelievable courage," Mulhearn wrote in nominating them for the awards.
The fire happened Oct. 24, 2011 on the 400 block of East Fullerton Avenue in Glendale Heights. Despite heavy smoke and flames, Small and Wallin of the Glenside Fire Protection District entered the home and rescued an unconscious victim from the second floor.
After taking the victim to the front lawn, Small and Wallin returned and continued the search, finding another victim in a bedroom doorway.
"Police and firefighters like tonight's honorees dedicate their lives every day to protecting our families, loved ones, homes and businesses, and all too often they find themselves in harm's way," said Naperville Mayor George Pradel, a member of The Hundred Club. "(They) deserve our collective gratitude for their valor and selfless service."
The Hundred Club of DuPage is a nonprofit group that assists families of local police officers and firefighters killed or stricken while working or living in the county. To commemorate the group's 30th anniversary this year, the DuPage County Board and Gov. Pat Quinn presented it with proclamations.
For more information, visit hundredclubofdupage.org.