|Friday, January 21, 2011 – Robert Lang|
|A volunteer firefighter killed this week battling a fire in Baltimore County will receive the county fire department’s highest honor. The Baltimore County Fire Department’s Commendations Board has posthumously awarded its highest honor, the Medal of Honor, to Mark Falkenhan, who died January 19 fighting a four-alarm fire in Hillendale this week. The Departmental Medal of Honor * awarded rarely * is given to fire service members who, in the course of firefighting or rescue operations, intelligently perform acts of extraordinary heroism or bravery in the saving, or attempted saving, of the lives of others.
Guidelines for this award specify that the action “shall be above and beyond the call of duty, at the grave risk of personally being killed or seriously injured,” and that the action is taken with knowledge of the risks involved. The Commendations Board has also awarded Falkenhan the Purple Heart, “awarded to members who, in the course of firefighting, rescue or emergency operations, receive a grievous or life-threatening injury, through no fault of their own.” “Mark Falkenhan was an intelligent, committed firefighter who made the ultimate sacrifice. It is an understatement to say that he has earned these honors,” said Fire Chief John J. Hohman.
The Department formally will present the awards at its upcoming annual Promotional and Commendations Ceremony, scheduled March 22, 7:30 p.m., at Goucher College’s Kraushaar Auditorium. The Fire Department Commendations Board is comprised of career, volunteer and retired fire service members who evaluate candidates for various awards based on specific criteria. The board voted unanimously to honor Falkenhan with the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart.