Cincinnati firefighter receives Bronze Star Medal

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Cincinnati Fire Department took a moment Wednesday to honor Lieutenant Mark J. Sanders, but not for his work as a firefighter. Lt. Sanders is also a Major in the U.S. military, who has served in the Ohio National Guard, and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009.

On May 28, 2009, Sanders and his men were ambushed. According to the military, with complete disregard to his own safety, Sanders exposed himself to heavy fire in order to direct the movement of his detachment.  He eliminated an enemy dropping grenades.  His courage and composure under fire helped repel a well coordinated ambush and save the life of a teammate.

For that, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.

Back home, his civilian friends and colleagues gathered with his family.

"There is something really special about people who decide to go into the military voluntarily, putting themselves into a situation where they are fighting for our protection, fighting for our freedom, in a foreign land, far away from their family, far away from their friends and far away from their homes," said Mayor Mark Mallory. "That's exactly what Lt. Sanders did.  And because of his bravery, because he put himself in harms way to protect others, and to protect the freedoms of this nation, he has earned the Bronze Star for courage."

Cincinnati Fire Chief Richard Braun also spoke at Cincinnati Fire station #38, where Sanders works.

"I always say firefighters are ordinary people that do extraordinary things. They put people above themselves and that's exactly what lieutenant Sanders did," he said.

Lt. Sanders told FOX19 he was proud to have had two careers he loves, and asked only that people here at home take time to look after military families, especially when they have a loved one serving overseas.

"Their spouses have become a single parent for the time that they're gone, so if people could remember that, that'd be great," he said.

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