Three members of Strongsville’s safety forces have been honored by the Knights of Columbus St. Francis of Assisi Council for outstanding work in 2020.
Police Officer of the Year Mike Mendise, Firefighter of the Year Andy Smeader and Dispatcher of the Year Angela Love have all received plaques for their dedication.
Mendise, a 20-year officer in Strongsville, was called to an incident in which a woman was threatening to jump off the Boston Road overpass. Mendise climbed over the safety fence to join the woman on a narrow ledge above I-71 and was able to calm the woman and assure here he was there to help.
He was able to convince the woman that jumping would not solve her problems and took her to safety. Mendise’s nominating letter said he showed courage and professionalism that day and every day.
“Officer Mendise displayed extreme compassion and used his instincts to have a successful outcome,” the nomination says.
Smeader was nominated by his shift commander for performance of his duties, and respect from his peers and commanding officers.
In particular, Smeader was recognized for his actions on an emergency scene involving a departmental collision.
While en route to a 911 call, the ambulance he was riding in was struck going through the intersection of Westwood and Pearl roads. The driver was rendered unconscious and Smeader, without hesitation, veered the still-moving ambulance out of the way of on-coming traffic and requested additional resources before himself going unconscious.
Love, who joined Southwest Emergency Dispatch Center in 2018, brought with her “a vast amount of experience, a jaw-dropping work ethic and a wonderfully sunny disposition,” her nominating letter says.
Love is always willing to help, from answering someone else’s radio during a busy time to offering to switch shifts to help out a coworker. She never complains and often volunteers to do extra jobs, always with a smile.
“When Angela is at work, you know that the atmosphere will be lighter and happier just by her presence. In a career where you can experience so much darkness, she is a bright spot.”