Captain Gary Green and Firefighter Bill WasekanesThe Ocean City firefighters’ union Local, International Association of Fire Fighters Local 4032, was recently named “Local of the Year” by its statewide firefighters’ union. Captain Gary Green and Firefighter Bill Wasekanes are good examples of why the Local received such a prestigious honor.Green, a 32 year veteran of the Department, and Wasekanes, who joined the Department in 2014, received Valor Awards for their efforts which resulted in saving the life of a man at a call in 2015.The awards were presented recently at the annual Valor Awards Dinner of the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey held in Eatontown, NJ.In February of 2015, Green and Wasekanes responded to a call reporting a structural fire in the 1500 block of Simpson Avenue. However, there was no fire in the second floor apartment that was the subject of the call.Investigating further, the men moved to the back of the building and spotted smoke stains on the windows of one of the neighboring buildings. Upon opening a rear door, they found a smoky interior and the leg of a man sticking out. The man had apparently become overcome by the smoke and passed out on the floor, just short of the door.The firefighters pulled the man out and called for an ambulance. Rescue breathing was performed. Although the victim suffered multiple burns to the head, hands and head, his life was saved. He was transported to a local hospital and then a trauma unit and eventually recovered.“The alertness and quick reactions of Green and Wasekanes had saved his life,” according to a City release.“It is a good feeling to know that you were able to help somebody at a very trying time in their life, and I know my partner, Bill Wasekanes feels the same way,” Green said. “I went toward the end of my career before I became involved in a rescue like that and Bill had one in his very first year.”Green said the entire incident was over quickly. “The rescue was fast, the fire was put out fast and we were out of there fast. Everyone did their job.”In addition to the individual valor awards, Ocean City’s Local of the Year honors were in recognition of the Department’s exceptional work in both fire service and community service, the release went on to say.“Our local has always been very solid in terms of community service and it’s nice to be recognized,” Green said, citing the department’s involvement with Operation First Response, which aids returning veterans in getting back on their feet financially, Special Olympics, the city youth sports teams, the Junior Firefighters program and camp, among other projects.