U.S. Rep. Martha McSally honored local first responders during a ceremony in Tucson on Tuesday.

The second annual Congressional First Responder of Distinction Award Ceremony recognized local, state and federal emergency personnel who go above and beyond to serve Southern Arizona, according to a news release from McSally’s office.

“First responders make enormous sacrifices for our community here in Southern Arizona, putting their lives on the line and working day and night to keep us safe,” said McSally, a Tucson Republican.

A panel of judges from the Southern Arizona first-responder community selected the winners:

  • • First Place: Mertie Stompro, patrol lieutenant with the Sierra Vista Police Department, is a 20-year veteran who has worked in the tactical unit and helped to start SVPD’s special response team. Stompro recently worked as the sergeant overseeing the department’s firearms training.
  • Team Award: Davis-Monthan Fire and Emergency Services hosted more than 500 firefighters from 12 neighboring departments, three local fire academies and local law enforcement agencies in joint SWAT/Rescue Task Force Training last year. The team has also been honored by the Commission of Fire Accreditation International.
  • Honorable Mention: Roberto Vasquez, a Tucson Fire Department captain, has been with the department for 13 years and created a public education program about the small things that can be done to keep children safe.
  • Honorable Mention: David Bruster, Tombstone fire chief, has been responsible for major changes in the department and works with local schools to provide fire education. Bruster also helped raise money and apply for grants to replace protective equipment for department members and helped negotiate the purchase of a newer firetruck to replace a truck that was unsafe.

Contact reporter Caitlin Schmidt at cschmidt@tucson.com or 573-4191. Twitter: @caitlinschmidt

Public safety reporter covering police, fire, courts, and sports-related legal issues.