Honoring Prince George’s Co.’s fallen first responders: ‘It’s bittersweet’

WASHINGTON — In Prince George’s County, Maryland, both the firefighter and the police officer of the year for 2016 are being given the awards posthumously.

“It’s bittersweet,” Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said of the yearly public safety valor awards. “The celebration of acts of personal sacrifice is tempered by the fact that Jacai was killed.”

Three fallen Prince George's County public safety officers were honored Wednesday. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Three fallen Prince George’s County public safety officers were honored Wednesday. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
In Prince George's County, Maryland, both the firefighter and the police officer of the year for 2016 were given the awards posthumously. (WTOP/Kristi King)
In Prince George’s County, Maryland, both the firefighter and the police officer of the year for 2016 were given the awards posthumously. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
Officer Jacai Colson was shot and killed by friendly fire during a March ambush outside a police station in Landover. (Courtesy Prince George's County Police Department)
Officer Jacai Colson was shot and killed by friendly fire during a March ambush outside a police station in Landover. (Courtesy Prince George’s County Police Department) (Courtesy Prince George's County Police Department)
John Ulmschneider was shot and killed on a call by a homeowner in April 2016. (Courtesy Prince George's County Fire Department)
John Ulmschneider was shot and killed on a call by a homeowner in April 2016. (Prince George’s County Fire Department) (Courtesy Prince George's County Fire Department))
Prince George’s County firefighters set up a donation page to help the family of Chris Hill, a 14-year veteran diagnosed with cancer. (Photo courtesy of Youcaring.com)
Prince George’s County firefighter Chris Hill, a 14-year veteran diagnosed with cancer, died in 2016. He was honored at Wednesday’s luncheon. (Photo courtesy of Youcaring.com) ((Photo courtesy of Youcaring.com))
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Three fallen Prince George's County public safety officers were honored Wednesday. (WTOP/Kristi King)
In Prince George's County, Maryland, both the firefighter and the police officer of the year for 2016 were given the awards posthumously. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Officer Jacai Colson was shot and killed by friendly fire during a March ambush outside a police station in Landover. (Courtesy Prince George's County Police Department)
John Ulmschneider was shot and killed on a call by a homeowner in April 2016. (Courtesy Prince George's County Fire Department)
Prince George’s County firefighters set up a donation page to help the family of Chris Hill, a 14-year veteran diagnosed with cancer. (Photo courtesy of Youcaring.com)
Jacai Colson, 28, the Prince George’s County Police Officer of the Year, was killed in March 2016 during an ambush outside the station where he worked in Landover, Maryland.

Firefighter/Medic Lieutenant John E. Ulmschneider, 37, is the county’s firefighter of the year. He was fatally shot in April 2016 by a homeowner while responding to a 911 call.

Also being recognized is Firefighter/Medic Captain Christopher E. Hill, 47, who died of a form of cancer directly linked to firefighting.

“It’s an emotional, powerful day for all of us in this room,” Assistant Fire Chief Alan Doubleday said of Wednesday’s public safety luncheon.

“Typically, these are just to honor the heroes. Today we’re [also] honoring three very special men who gave their lives for this community.”


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