Paul Morselli is Brunswick's 2017 Firefighter of the Year.
BRUNSWICK — Fire Chief Jim Baird cited consistency and performance when talking about 2017’s Firefighter of the Year: 17-year veteran Paul Morselli.
“It’s a good feeling,” Morselli, 52, said Monday. “It’s something I don’t look for because I’m just doing my job. But to be recognized in the community I live in … it’s exciting and I do appreciate it.”
Baird said Morselli, a firefighter/paramedic, was nominated for many reasons, including his key role in the department’s response to a fatal fire at the Hickory Hill Apartment complex in March 2016.
“He was left alone on the ladder truck and had to get water supply, get a working line off of it, set (the ladder) up and get it up in the highest position,” Baird said Monday. “That’s usually a three-man job and he got it done quickly on his own.”
“It was a tough day,” Morselli said. “It’s hard to put into words … people were screaming and we had a lot of people coming out injured.
“My partner and I tried going into the bedroom while the complex was on fire to try to get (4-year-old Keagan Taylor Sullivan) out. Even to this day we think ‘is there something we could’ve done different,’ but I don’t know if we could have.”
Keagan died in the fire.
At the department’s two stations, Morselli oversees the supply program, meaning he is responsible for keeping the facilities equipped with everything the shift members need to carry out their daily duties.
Morselli communicates with and contracts with vendors to order supplies and oversee deliveries, from paper towels to laundry detergent to truck wash.
“We never lack supplies around the station or run out of stuff,” Baird said. “He does a really good job.”
Morselli also is credited with being active in a number of charitable efforts within the department and the community, including the department’s Aluminum Cans for Burned Children program, which Morselli manages.
Under the program, the department collects aluminum cans, recycles them and collects money to help children who have suffered debilitating burns. Baird said the program sponsors an annual summer camp for children who have sustained burns or are immobile as a result from being burned.
“It gives kids a normal, enjoyable summer camp experience,” Baird explained.
Morselli also is instrumental in the department’s Fill the Boot program, which benefits the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and participates in the Make-A-Wish program and the Brunswick Eagles’ Christmas Basket Program.
“The (Christmas Basket Program) helps about 30 to 35 children,” Morselli said. “We adopt a family and buy gifts, then load everything up Christmas Eve morning and distribute to families.”
Morselli, a Garfield Heights native, moved to Brunswick with his family in 1998. He and his wife, Catherine, have four adult children — Alyssa, 27, John, 24, and twin 19-year-old daughters, Shannon and Kiley — and a Yorkshire terrier, Gunner D.
Before joining the Brunswick department, Morselli worked for a private ambulance service for seven years.
Contact reporter Halee Heironimus at (330) 721-4012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.