In a ceremony held on Thursday, June 6, 2024, the 200 Club of Ocean County honored exemplary first responders with the prestigious 2024 Valor Award. Officer Kevin Jacobs, EMT Ross Caruso, and EMT Evan LaValle,  were recognized for their outstanding dedication to duty and selfless acts of bravery.

The Annual Awards Reception, hosted by the Board of Trustees of the 200 Club of Ocean County, celebrated the exceptional commitment and heroism displayed by these individuals in their service to the community. The Valor Award is given to first responders who go above and beyond the call of duty, exemplifying the courage and dedication that is at the heart of their profession.

“These awards are a testament to the bravery and selflessness that our first responders exhibit every day,” said a representative of the 200 Club. “Officer Kevin Jacobs, along with EMTs Ross Caruso and Evan LaValle, have shown extraordinary commitment to their roles and have made significant contributions to the safety and well-being of our community.”

The 200 Club of Ocean County is dedicated to supporting the families of law enforcement officers, firefighters, and EMTs who have lost their lives in the line of duty, as well as recognizing acts of heroism and service among active first responders. The Annual Awards Reception serves as a platform to acknowledge and celebrate these brave individuals.

Whereas, on March 1, 2024, Lakewood Police, Lakewood EMS, and Lakewood Fire Departments responded to an area on Route 70 for a reported vehicle fire. The EMS was traveling in the area when they heard the Fire Department’s dispatch and requested to be placed on the call. As the EMS unit arrived, they advised dispatch that the vehicle was overturned and heavily engulfed in flames. After further assessment, they noticed a person was trapped under the vehicle. The crew attempted to remove the victim, but his lower extremities were pinned between the roof of the car and the ground. Both the EMS unit including EMTs Caruso and LaValle, and Lakewood Police including Officer Jacobs attempted to extinguish the flames but were not ultimately successful as the vehicle was fully engulfed. They then successfully lifted the vehicle enough to remove the trapped victim and move him to a safe location, where he was quickly taken to the hospital. This was a tragedy that was averted because of the bravery and no regard for the personal safety of these officers and EMTs while saving a life.

Now therefore be it resolved, that these first responders’ brave actions during a dangerous situation involving a victim in a fully engulfed vehicle fire went above and beyond the call of duty. Their courageous acts reflect positively upon the Lakewood Police Department, Lakewood Emergency Medical Services, themselves, and the community they serve, and the 200 Club extends its best wishes to them for their continued success and happiness.