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B'ville: Beyond the call of duty

Three heroes were recently honored in Baldwinsville.

Officer James Cerankowski of the Baldwinsville Police Department, Deputy Daniel Bieling of the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office and Trooper George Lumkin Jr. of the New York State Police received recognition for the bravery demonstrated Aug. 6 when a fire erupted in the heart of Baldwinsville.

Before fire department personnel arrived on the scene that August morning, Officer Cerankowski, Deputy Bieling and Trooper Lumkin Jr. went into the burning building to alert residents of the rapidly spreading fire. Without regard for their personal safety, the officers located two residents, Catrina Roberson and Albert Schell, in the burning building and then led them to safety through thick smoke and fire.

"They would have perished had it not been for these officers' actions," said Lt. Michael Lefancheck of the BPD.

To honor their valiant actions, the village of Baldwinsville held a ceremony last Thursday presenting each officer with a decoration.

Sgt. Thomas LeRoy of the BPD commanded a presentation of colors to open the ceremony followed by remarks by Lt. Lefancheck. Mayor Joseph Saraceni and the BPD Police Chief Daniel Warner presented each honoree with an award. Officer Cerankowski received the Medal of Valor. Not only is the Medal of Valor the highest honor bestowed upon a BPD officer, Cerankowski is also the first to receive the honor. Recognition awards were presented to Trooper Lumkin Jr. and Deputy Beiling.

Many were present to revere the actions of the local heroes including Roberson and Schell.

"We can't really say thank you enough," Roberson said. "We wouldn't be able to say thank you if it weren't for them."

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