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At Performance Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Centerville and JeepLand, we honor and salute our local Everyday Heroes: The fine men and women who have served and continue to serve our amazing communities.
We wanted to give back and acknowledge some of our own, so we created the JeepLand Everyday Heroes Jeep Wrangler Giveaway.
We received dozens of qualified submissions of local heroes. We read their stories and celebrated their contributions. From the list, we selected five finalists. Each finalist was carefully reviewed until we ultimately landed on a winner.
In April 2011, Captain Jennifer Curtis received a short-notice deployment to Firebase Chamkani, Afghanistan, where she embedded with U.S. Army Special Forces to assist with village stability operations. Captain Curtis quickly realized that her deployment would be dangerous when she first arrived at the firebase located in the mountains on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan and her helicopter was targeted by mortar rounds. After being on the receiving end of more than 126 mortar rounds over the course of her deployment, Captain Curtis became accustomed to this hazardous way of life.
As the female treatment team provider, assisted only by a medic and interpreter, she traveled to villages and schools to teach local women basic medical care and childbirth. The operation not only provided education, but also built relationships between NATO forces and the local Afghan citizens. While deployed, Captain Curtis developed a series of 11 medical messages that were aired on the local radio station. Their popularity prompted the locals to request that she provide more such messages.
One evening, enemy forces fired rockets at her encampment. Because the camp was on lock down, Captain Curtis was the only medic available for the first 20 minutes of the attack. She rapidly identified six troops who had shrapnel wounds or had sustained concussions from the blasts and dragged them into the medical facility where she initiated lifesaving medical care until other medics arrived. Once the patients were stabilized, they were evacuated to the trauma center at Bagram Airfield.
Throughout her deployment, Captain Curtis accompanied Special Forces teams 62 times as they visited Afghan villages. The teams were engaged by small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) during 11 of those missions. In the course of one of these missions, a Soldier sustained shrapnel wounds from a RPG and Captain Curtis swiftly began emergency care to stop the bleeding from his leg. Simultaneously, she was alerted that a local woman was having a heart attack. After performing a quick assessment of the patient, who was with her family on the roadside, Captain Curtis stabilized her and administered care. Even as they were under fire, she continued to provide treatment while the woman’s son transported them to the hospital.
Because of her actions during her deployment, Captain Curtis was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Force Combat Action Medal.
Below are our finalists. Along with Major Curtis, these individuals display the traits and sacrifices of an Everyday Hero. We are so proud to have gotten the opportunity to honor these fine men and women. You can read the statements that were presented to us upon their nomination.
We would also like to take this time to recognize all of our nominees. The process of selecting a final group of five finalists, and then a winner was extremely tough. Thank you to all of our amazing heroes that walk the streets in our communities, and who continue to be persons of high character. We salute you.
My favorite are the 6 Dayton police offers who stopped the Oregon district shooter in less than 30 seconds. I have personally worked with all 6. Sgt. Chad W. Knight was my firearms instructor and Sgt. last year. All were coworkers who went sprinting after the suspect: Vincent Carter (not pictured), David Denlinger (not pictured), Jeremy Campbell, Brian Rolfes, Ryan Nabel. All 6 are very honorable guys so I cannot nominate just one but all would be deserving if selected.
Ret. MSgt. Steve Ramke Sr. is my favorite military member. He served his country proudly and honorably for 24 years. He has worked hard his whole life with honesty, loyalty, and commitment. He’s a man of integrity. I say this as a wife of 35 years, who has seen him go out each and every day and giving it 100% to whatever task it may be. He has served in times of peace and it times of war. He fought for freedom, justice and the American way of life. He loves his country and he loves his American flag. I always said it takes a really special to serve in the military to be willing to give his life.
I am writing you today to nominate my fiancé J.T. Shaw to be the winner of your Everyday Heroes Jeep. J.T. not only qualifies because of his military service, but for his First Responder service as well. J.T. actually began his service to his country even before he graduated High School. During his senior year, J.T. was a standout football player and was heavily recruited to play college football. He played both offense and defense every game. During football season, he was still drilling with a guard unit over an hour from his home. He would play an entire game Friday night, get up at 4am on Saturday morning and drive to his unit and drill all weekend then return to school on Monday and still maintained a 3.2 G.P.A. After J.T. graduated, he almost immediately went to Army basic training at Fort Leonard Wood where he also completed his AIT training as a military police officer. After Basic Military Training and AIT, he began to serve his community as well by joining the Sheriff’s department as a deputy. He deployed to Afghanistan in March of 2013 and returned home in February 2014. While in country, J.T. served on numerous missions that are currently classified. While serving, he earned several medals for his outstanding and brave service. Upon returning from Afghanistan, J.T. returned to serving his community as a deputy. He completed his 6 year commitment to his country proudly in August 2016 was Honorably Discharged. J.T.is still serving his community as a deputy and is very active in trying to help local youth reach their potential as he did. I know J.T. to be an extremely loyal man that has a servant’s heart. I believe he not only deserves to win the Everyday Heroes Jeep, but I am certain he would represent it well after he receives it.
Tony joined the Marine Corp shortly after college and despite scoring in the 97th percentile on his ASVAB, he elected to join the enlisted infantry due to his sense of patriotism. He attended boot camp at Parris Island and volunteered to deploy with another unit after missing his unit’s deployment by less than a month. I thank God that Tony came home from Afghanistan alive and with all of his limbs. The only physical impairments were some frostbite and a wrist injury sustained while attempting to avoid rocket fire. But the emotional impacts of that place are lifelong. They don’t tell moms all that they experienced but I know that he saw 2 children get burned alive and a sniper’s bullet narrowly missed him in his guard tower. He saw true poverty with 3rd world living conditions and the sick minds of the Taliban. While mom does not everything, I know that instead of letting any of that get the best of him, it made him appreciate America. He thinks about Afghanistan every day and says he will never take this beauty and freedom for granted. I was afraid the Marine Corp would harden Tony. But it didn’t. He still leaves me, his mother, notes telling me that he loves me. Family is important to him and he found the perfect wife to share life with. He is devoted to his family, including his two brothers who also chose to serve our country. After running into some car problems, he borrowed my Jeep Wrangler for a couple of weeks. He immediately feel in love with it and has since sent me videos of him driving a Jeep in both Hawaii and Florida. He joined us with Muddy Buddys for the Franklin Memorial Day Parade and was touched by the passion of the Jeep community and their support of the armed forces. I would to nominate him for this award, because despite being injured he has never sought compensation from the VA. His sense of selflessness has always come first and I would love to see him win this Jeep as a result of the sacrifices that he has made.