Michael Pace has been named Strongsville Firefighter of the Year for 2019.
Pace, who was presented with the award June 3, 2019 by the Knights of Columbus St. Francis of Assisi Council, has been with the department more than two decades and currently serves as assistant fire marshal.
"Mike has become the true definition of what a Strongsville firefighter represents," Capt. Matt Tilbert wrote in his nomination letter. "Mike's contagious positive outlook has mentored all of the department members around him."
Pace, who started his career as an emergnecy room nurse before becoming a firefighter-paramedic, has helped raise the bar of medical care in Strongsville by delivering treatment with care and compassion. "As a firefighter, Mike was always a valued member to have within your crew. He was a diligent worker on the fire ground and was always ready to help with clean-up back at the fire station. He definitely led by example," Tilbert wrote.
HIs efforts extend beyond the firehouse, donating off-duty time to help fellow firefighters in need, raising money for the Muscular Dystroophy Association and helping build wheelchair ramps for Make A Wish. Recently, a resident's door was damaged during an emergency call. When he realized the resident was unable to repair the door, "Mike purchased the necessary items to build a new door frame and stain it to match the old door," Tilbert said.
He also recently took the initiative to take courses and become certified as a fire safety inspector. In the year he's been in that post, "he has truly made the city a safer place," Tilbert said. "I truly believe in my heart that Mike could have received this award every year for the last 20 years."