“Their incredible work should inspire all of us to have hope and optimism, because we know that even on our worst days, there are people who will quite literally give themselves to save the life of a perfect stranger. That’s who we are, and that’s what we do.” – Fire Commissioner Adam K. Thiel, October 2022
For anyone who calls Philadelphia home, there is a profound sense of relief that comes with returning home, safely, each night. And for all of Philadelphia’s problems and challenges, there is a deep network of people who are responsible for making sure you and your loved ones are protected and cared for in times of crisis and otherwise.
That public safety network includes thousands of workers who pledge to put the well-being of their fellow citizens above their own, both on the front lines, and behind the scenes: Firefighters who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty, like Firefighter Sean Frazer, of Ladder 13 in West Philly, who rescued two people from a burning building.
EMTs who rise to crises at all hours and in all neighborhoods, like Paramedic Asia Johnson and Advanced EMT Amanda Matthews, who rescued a patient who was experiencing a near-fatal mental health crisis on a busy road.
Police officers who defy the increasingly pervasive “bad cop” narrative and instead hew to the noble values they swore to uphold when taking their badge, like Officers Andrew Boyd and Mark Sadolsky, who shoveled snow from a woman’s wheelchair ramp to help her in a time of need.
The 911 operators, public defenders, district attorneys — and the support staff who may get no attention, but are the backbone of customer service and wellbeing.
What unites them all? They’re City workers — which makes them eligible to be nominated for the 2023 Integrity Icon Awards, The Citizen’s ongoing partnership with the nonprofit Accountability Lab to “name and fame” City workers who go above and beyond their job descriptions, to do ethical, high-integrity work for Philadelphia.
The qualities we’re looking for: The Icon must be a high-integrity public service employee who is respectful and caring; knows their work makes a difference to people’s lives; acts in a trustworthy and transparent way to solve problems the best they can; treats everyone equally, without regard to politics or influence; and goes above and beyond to provide good service to Philadelphians.
The process to nominate someone is simple: Fill out this form, then Accountability Lab and The Citizen will get to work learning more about each nominee before our panel of high-integrity judges — which this year includes previous winners Richard Gordon IV, principal of Paul Robeson High School, and Rebecca Lopez Kriss, a deputy commissioner in the City’s Revenue Department; Angela Val, president and CEO of Visit Philadelphia; Amy Kurland, former Inspector General of the City of Philadelphia; and SEAMAAC Executive Director Thaoi Nguyen — review the finalists and choose the winners. You’ll then have a chance to vote on one of them as the “People’s Choice” winner, too.
Come fall, we’ll celebrate all of the winners, and fête them like the true heroes they are.
You have until March 31, so get nominating — and spread the word far and wide!
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