HEROES DAY recognizes Southern Arizona's First Responder Community and their crucial work protecting and serving our community through the efforts of more than 30 agencies and departments working together as law enforcement personnel, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, and local military units. Every day is Heroes Day, but one day a year we gather to celebrate with them by highlighting a few exceptional stories and providing places to gather which honors and thank all local first responders. Event details and history can be seen at 520Hero.com
Click Here for 2018 Event details www.520.hero.com
Click Here for 2018 > First Responder Only Free Raffle
Join us November 8th for Texas Roadhouse BBQ Lunch and Chik Fil A
First Responders Eat Free at 5 Area Jack Furrier Tire Locations
- Grant Road at Oracle (370 W. Grant Road)
- Speedway Blvd. Between Craycroft & Wilmot (5852 E. Speedway)
- Valencia at South 6th Avenue (51 E. Valencia Road)
- Oracle Road between Magee & Ina (7846 N. Oracle Road)
- NEW this Year I-10 & Cortaro (Kohls Parking Lot at AZ Pavillions 8051 N Casa Grande Hwy)
Senior Airman Austin Henson & Technical Sergeant Benjamin Cole
Davis Monthan AFB
Deployed from Tucson, AZ to East Africa, Team Leader, Benjamin Cole, and Element Leader, Austin Henson, led the operations of a combat rescue team. Ben Cole led a team of 6 Pararescuemen supporting high-risk operations in Southern Somalia, along with Austin Henson as the primary medic on the team. U.S. Military members were partnered with African forces to establish an outpost in al-Shabaab controlled territory when they came under attack. The team was in the air on helicopters within minutes of the attack and overhead within 20 minutes. There was a lot of confusion on the ground due to the ongoing fight, so Ben Cole elected to send in his helicopter to make sense of the injuries. Henson’s helicopter crew fought their way in without regard to their own safety. The fighting was so aggressive that they had to make a few passes with both helicopters .50 caliber guns to suppress the enemy so they could land while the second helicopter continued to fire overhead.
Senior Airman, Austin Henson, and Technical Sergeant, Benjamin Cole, moved through gun and mortar fire and linked up with the ground team to get casualty reports and make decisions on who needed to come out first. Austin helped load patients and started treating the most critical one right away. Once triaged, Ben loaded three other critical patients and they took off to cover additional patients and ensure everyone was brought to safety. The team treated the patients while the helicopter flew with aggressive combat maneuvers back to an American outpost where a team of doctors waited. While turning over their patients to the doctors, word came that their team needed to fly back into the same firefight to retrieve further casualties. Without hesitation, they flew back into the fight, having to conduct increased gun-runs to get back into the landing zone as the fight raged on. The teams extracted more American and African forces who were hurt in the ongoing fight and brought back under protection. Unfortunately, due to the extent of injuries sustained, one American service member was killed, but because of the leadership and heroic actions of Ben Cole and Austin Henson, four more Americans are alive today. Together, they truly live the rescue motto, “These Things I Do, So That Others May Live!”
Honoree: Sergeant John Malovich
Tucson Police Department SWAT
During the early afternoon hours of June 8, 2018, Operations Division Midtown Patrol encountered a barricaded subject call for service. The subject had visited a friend, refused to leave the friend’s residence, and, ultimately, committed aggravated assault against the friend. At the earliest opportunity, the friend (victim) escaped the residence and called 911. Patrol officers responded to the address and attempted contact with the subject, who barricaded himself inside his friend’s home and threated to set it on fire if police interfered with him. The subject claimed to have taken the gasoline out of a motorized bike and spread it throughout the residence. The patrol officers were soon joined by the Mental Health Unit, and by Hostage negotiators. Negotiations continued for an extended period of time. Sergeant Malovich is a SWAT supervisor, and 19-year veteran of the Tucson Police Department. On the afternoon in question he conducted administrative duties. Sergeant Malovich heard the radio traffic pertaining to the incident and volunteered to respond and assist.
On his arrival Sergeant Malovich realized evacuations had not been completed on the neighboring duplex units, the SW Gas line had not been turned off, there was little containment of the location, and although TFD was present at the scene, they were too far away to assist in the event of a fire. Additionally, the route the fire truck would take to the residence was blocked by several other emergency vehicles. Sergeant Malovich took immediate action and ensured that his critical observations were remedied. He personally initiated and oversaw the process of clearing the roadway and moving the fire truck about 100 yards closer to the residence where it would be effective. He then coordinated with the firemen and ensured they had their lines hooked up, charged, and ready to take immediate action. With fire as their first concern, Sergeant Malovich next developed a plan, and entered the duplex property where he supervised the evacuations of nearby residents who had not received those instructions from the first responding patrol officers. Sergeant Malovich performed an additional critical duty while inside the property boundary. He and his team covertly approached and shut off the SW Gas utility line. The meter was attached to the wall of the aggravated assault suspect’s location. The close proximity to the suspect, and obvious danger thereby associated due to the proximity had prevented the patrol officers from accomplishing that task. To ensure the safety of the public, Sergeant Malovich next conducted a thorough reconnaissance of the property. He relocated and assigned additional officers to previously overlooked positions to prevent the suspect from escaping and potentially harming others.
None of Sergeant Malovich’s efforts had been in vain or wasted. Shortly after the completion of Sergeant Malovich’s self-assigned tasks, the suspect set the duplex on fire. Because of the gasoline the unit became fully engulfed in flames within seconds. Were it not for Sergeant Malovich’s dedicated efforts, attention to detail and hard work, the entire property consisting of multiple units, and potentially the gas line itself, would have been lost. However, because of his planning and hands-on supervisory actions, two fire hoses fought the fire within seconds. Not only were the other residential units and the gas line saved, but the suspect himself was saved. Sergeant Malovich’s plan was so thorough, the man wasn’t even critically injured. Having witnessed the entire sequence of events from beginning to end, there is no doubt the suspect would have died in the inferno if it were not for Sergeant Malovhich’s critical thinking skills and ability to implement the necessary scene remediation in a highly stressful, dynamic, and chaotic environment. Sergeant Malovich is clearly a public service hero!
Honorees: LPO Erika Munoz & Officer Marcos Ramirez
Tucson Police Department
In the early morning hours of June 10, 2018, officers responded to the report of a domestic violence incident at an apartment complex. Officer Munoz and Officer Ramirez arrived on scene and could smell something burning. Shortly after their arrival, they found one of the apartments was fiercely ablaze. Officer Ramirez went to the apartment below the unit on fire to evacuate the couple inside and safely escort them to the parking lot. Officer Munoz was flagged down by a female that said she knew one of the residents in the apartment and stated that there was a 1-year old child inside. Officer Munoz observed as a male exited the apartment, with no child, and then go back inside. The male turned out to be the suspect who was responsible for setting the apartment on fire. While Officer Ramirez continued evacuations of surrounding apartments, Officer Munoz bravely entered the engulfed apartment with no protective gear on, in hopes of rescuing the child as the suspect exited the apartment once more, with no child. While inside, the smoke and flames from the fire were tremendous. At one point, a fire extinguisher inside the apartment in close proximity to Officer Munoz exploded, due to the extreme temperatures, causing the window to shatter. Officer Munoz was eventually forced out of the apartment due to the heat, fire and immense smoke.
After leaving the unit, Officer Munoz and Officer Ramirez continued the evacuation efforts while waiting for the Tucson Fire Department to arrive. In a review of the body worn camera footage of the incident, it was clear that Officer Munoz was struggling to breathe, yet she still managed to transmit clear direction to civilians and responding officers, alike, during the evacuations. Officer Munoz and Officer Ramirez never once stopped thinking of others above themselves, and it is clear by their actions and directions to those involved ensuring no one was seriously hurt or killed during the incident. A Tucson Fire Department Captain who was on scene stated that the coordination between officers and firefighters that night was the best he had ever seen in his career—there is no doubt that the heroic actions of both officers were the reason this occurred. During the course of the attempted rescue, Officer Munoz faced potential deadly encounters on multiple occasions. The body worn camera shows Officer Munoz leaving the apartment just a few feet in front of the flames.
At the conclusion of the call, Officer Munoz was transported to University Medical Center to be treated for smoke inhalation and burns to the inside of her mouth, throat, and vocal cords, causing her to be out for two weeks. Both Officer Ramirez and Officer Munoz exemplify what it means to be a Hero, not only through their actions, but through their selflessness of putting others before themselves every single day. They are true guardians of the community and the Tucson Police Department is proud and honored to have them serve with us.