PIQUA — Mayor Lucy Fess read three proclamations during the Piqua City Commission meeting on Tuesday evening, giving particular recognition to Piqua’s Medal of Honor recipient William H. Pitsenbarger.
Fess recognized Nov. 14, 2015 as William H. Pitsenbarger Day, which will be the day that Pitsenbarger will be honored by the city with a statue dedication ceremony at the Pitsenbarger Sports Complex at 10 a.m.
“Airman First Class William H. Pitsenbarger distinguished himself by extreme valor on April 11, 1966, near Cam My, Republic of Vietnam, while assigned as a Pararescue Crew Member,” Fess said. “Airman Pitsenbarger was aboard a rescue helicopter responding to a call for evacuation of casualties incurred in an on-going firefight between elements of the United States Army’s 1st Infantry Division and a sizeable enemy force approximately 35 miles east of Saigon.”
Fess stated that “with complete disregard for personal safety,” Pitsenbarger volunteered to aid wounded infantryman, first riding a hoist down over 100 feet and then exposing himself to enemy fire to care for the wounded. When the evacuation was called off, Pitsenbarger also opted to stay behind and fight with U.S. forces.
Pitsenbarger was wounded three times before he was killed. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on Dec. 8, 2000.
The proclamation was presented to members of the Friends of the Piqua Parks, including Ruth Koon, Edna Stiefel, and Glen Devers. Commissioner Bill Vogt is also a member of the committee for the new Pitsenbarger statue.
“We are very, very excited that this is finally coming to fruition,” Koon said. Koon stated that Nov. 14 will be a good day “to pay tribute to one of our country’s greatest heroes and one of community’s greatest heroes, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.”
Koon stated that there are only 3,500 recipients of the Medal of Honor award in the U.S.
“Of the 134 soldiers who were in that fierce battle that day, only 28 survived,” Koon said. “And nine of those were because of William Pitsenbarger. Quite, quite a story.”
Koon stated that Ohio Sen. Bill Beagle will be attending the ceremony and reading a proclamation from Gov. John Kasich. The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard and the 88th Wing Base Commander will be there as well.
Fess’s other two proclamations regarded Veteran’s Day and America Recycles Day.
“We pay tribute to our veterans, we are mindful that no ceremony can repay the debt of gratitude we feel each and every day for their service to our country,” Fess said in regards to Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
Fess presented the proclamation for America Recycles Day, Nov. 15, to Amy Welker, director of the city of Piqua Health and Sanitation Department.
During the proclamation, Fess stated that the “city of Piqua recognizes the importance of protecting and preserving our natural resources and adopting conscientious habits that will improve our daily lives and bring about a cleaner, safer and more sustainable environment.”
Fess also pointed out that “there has been a significant increase in participation in the recycling program in the city of Piqua” and that the city is encouraging other residents to take part.
“I would like to note that I provided the commission with an update on the Piqua recycling program,” Welker said. The city started its in-house recycling program earlier this year in May. “We’re at the six-month mark … We’re very pleased to report that participation has greatly increased. It’s up 40 percent.”
Welker also noted that their recycling tonnage has increased and their solid waste tonnage has decreased.
There were two resolutions on the agenda regarding a new generator for the Piqua Fire Department.
“The current diesel generator that we have in the building has been there 30-plus years,” Piqua Fire Chief Brent Pohlschneider said. “It’s actually been in service for the city since the 1950s.”
Pohlschneider explained some of the issues that they have been experiencing with that generator, including finding parts for the generator.
“We’re striving … to be more efficient in the face of emergency outage,” Pohlschnieder said.
The new generator that they are purchasing will allow the fire department to run natural gas or propane depending on the type of natural disaster they could be facing. The city budgeted $60,000 for this purchase. The actual expenditure is expected to be $40,755 as bid with Buschur Electric, plus a 10 percent contingency.
The commission approved the fire department’s purchase.
The commission also approved a purchase order to Ritter Plumbing Company, Inc. for the installation of a gas line for the new generator for the fire department. That purchase order will be for the amount of $8,250.
The commission also granted utility easements to the city of Piqua. The city secured a utility easment for land located at 299 Linden Ave. for the purpose of storm water management. Additionally, the city received approval for a utility easement for land located at Linden Avenue and 208 Ford Drive for the same purpose.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall