Congresswoman Martha McSally

Representing the 2nd District of Arizona

U.S. Rep. McSally Shines Spotlight on First Responders of Distinction on House Floor

July 12, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Martha McSally today recognized Southern Arizona’s First Responders of Distinction on the House Floor. Earlier this week, Rep. McSally recognized the nominees from throughout Southern Arizona and presented awards to the winners.                                                                                

“There are outstanding First Responders in my district who serve Southern Arizona in truly extraordinary ways,” said Congresswoman McSally in a speech to the House of Representatives. “These individuals organize community races, develop emergency preparedness training, log hundreds of volunteer hours, launch public education campaigns, and provide meals for disabled seniors. That’s why I created the First Responders of Distinction Award—to shine a spotlight on individuals who make these contributions for our community.”

Congresswoman McSally’s remarks highlighted First Place winner Lieutenant Mertie Stompro Jr. of the Sierra Vista Police Department and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base 355th Civil Engineering Squadron Fire Emergency Services, the Team Award Winner. Watch and read her full remarks below.

Congresswoman McSally honors First Responders of Distinction on House Floor. Click above to watch.

Click HERE for photos of Monday’s awards ceremony honoring the 2017 First Responders.

Transcript:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the outstanding individuals in my congressional district who I was proud to award as First Responders of Distinction earlier this week.

We all benefit from the sacrificial work of our First Responders, whether we have personally experienced it as they respond to our emergency, or whether we indirectly benefit from it by enjoying the safety they help provide.

The everyday acts of heroism by First Responders in our community often go uncelebrated. They keep our streets safe, put their lives on the line during emergencies, provide assistance whenever needed, and save lives. 

Above and beyond even that standard of greatness, there are outstanding first responders in my district who serve Southern Arizona in truly extraordinary ways. These individuals organize community races, develop emergency preparedness training, log hundreds of volunteer hours, launch public education campaigns, and provide meals for disabled seniors.

That’s why I created the First Responders of Distinction Award—to shine a spotlight on individuals who make extraordinary contributions to our community.

This year we reached a significant number of nominations and I was pleased to recognize each one for the role they play.

Our winner in the individual category goes to Lt. Mertie Stompro who has served in the Sierra Vista Police Department for 20 years.  His many leadership roles include Team Leader for the Sierra Vista PD Tactical Unit and founding member of the SVPD Special Response Team.

Mertie distinguished himself as the Sergeant overseeing firearms training for the department. He developed force-on-force training to simulate real-life scenarios that officers face in the community. His steadfast approach to challenging officers in the training environment has greatly improved the skill level and preparedness of all ranks within SVPD.

In his spare time, Lt. Stompro has coordinated an annual “Foot Pursuit 5K” race that has become the largest organized race in the Sierra Vista area and fosters positive interaction between law enforcement and the community.  Last year, the race raised $6,000 for the annual “Christmas with a Cop” event sponsored by the Police Officer’s Association of Sierra Vista.  In this photo, you can see Lt. Strompro engaging with a child at “Christmas with a Cop”, which gives 100 under-privileged children in Cochise County the opportunity to spend $100 on whatever they wish to purchase.

For the last two years during National Bike and Walk to School Week he has come into work before his shift and transforms one of the armored vehicles into the Batmobile, driving “Batman” and “Ghostbuster” around each school in the Sierra Vista neighborhood to interact with the kids.

Lt. Stompro has also worked tirelessly over the last several years to develop emergency preparedness training exercises in the local schools and has developed a lasting partnership with the Sierra Vista Unified School District. He took the lead in developing exercises to coordinate efforts in the event of an active shooter situation.

Lt. Mertie Stompro embodies the Sierra Vista Police Department’s mantra of “Service with Honor” and we are fortunate to have him in our community.

Our Team Award Winner for 2017 is the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base 355th Civil Engineering Squadron Fire Emergency Services, pictured here receiving their award.

D-M’s Fire Emergency Services firefighters provide fire, rescue, emergency medical and combat support in 25 operating bases year round.  In the past year, D-M’s Fire Emergency Services hosted over 500 firefighters from 12 neighboring departments, three local fire academies, and local law enforcement agencies in joint SWAT/Rescue Task Force Training. In the last year, they have provided more than 150 hours of fire prevention education supporting over 300 children at Borman Elementary and Sonoran Science Academy. Additionally, they have volunteered 250 hours to: Habitat for Humanity, Tanque Verde Little League, STARBASE, Pima Interagency Training Committee, AZ Center for Fire Service Excellence, PSESI and numerous other organizations. Despite being 30% undermanned, they protect $50 billion dollars in assets and 14,000 personnel. Even with the diverse demands, D-M’s Fire Emergency Services was able to combine their experience, hard work, and talent to garner the prestigious milestone of Commission on Fire Accreditation International, an honor only 230 departments in the world have ever earned.

Mr. Speaker, these are just two examples of the heroic and extraordinary First Responders that we are blessed to have serving us in Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District. We will never fully be able to repay these individuals for the way they have shaped and improved Southern Arizona, but we can applaud them and offer our sincerest gratitude.

I would also like to thank all who nominated individuals for recognition and thank our panel of judges for making this award possible.