Heroic firemen earn Rotary Club’s Civil Servant of the Year award

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Winners of the 2021 Perry Rotary Club Civil Servant of the Year award are, from left, PVFD firefighters Israel Baltazar, Robert Harlan, Joel Eiteman and Andrew Modlin. They were nominated by Assistant Fire Chief Brian Eiteman for saving the life of Anastasio L. Galvan, who was rescued from a fire in April 2020 at the home of Ciso Galvan and Jolene Galvan of Perry, far right.

The Perry Rotary Club has selected Perry firefighters Joel Eiteman, Andy Modlin, Israel Baltazar and Bobby Harlan as its Civil Servant of the Year for 2021.

These four Perry firemen, along with Assistant Fire Chief Brian Eiteman, were honored in December by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds with the Sullivan Brothers’ Award for Valor at the State Capitol. They also received accolades nationally for their heroism.

These honors were in recognition of their bravery in saving a man’s life from a burning home in Perry in April 2020. The man would have perished if not for their actions in battling through intense fire, smoke and heat to reach him. He was pulled to safety and was transported to a local hospital. Three dogs could not be saved and died in the fire, and the house was a total loss.

In nominating these four individuals, Eiteman said, “I’m nominating these men because I believe they are the definition of Civil Servant of the Year. We pulled a man who would have certainly died if not for the direct actions of these men.”

The firefighters were selected over two other very worthy nominees, healthcare worker Dee Christensen, who provides excellent in-person care for several area individuals, and Perry Public Library Deputy Director Misty Von Behren, who is working to complete her college degree in library science while still performing excellent full-time work for the library.

For many years, the Perry Rotary Club has honored a deserving individual as the Civil Servant of the Year. The award will be presented to the men at the Feb. 7 meeting of theĀ  Perry City Council by Rotary President Brian Parker.

The motto of the Rotary Club is “Service Above Self.” These four young men certainly demonstrate that character.

Dr. Randall McCaulley is the secretary of the Perry Rotary Club.

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