Knights of Columbus honors North Charleston public safety workers

A North Charleston police officer who “took charge and showed great leadership” at a shooting scene in September has been awarded Police Officer of the Year by the Knights of Columbus.

The members of the Rev. Ronald P. Anderson Council 8900 honored North Charleston patrolwoman Jacqueline Ong at a Community Awards Recognition Banquet on Thursday night at Saint Thomas the Apostle Church Parish Center.

North Charleston Fire and Rescue Capt. Christopher Gay was honored as Firefighter of the Year.

Charleston County deputy David Johnson and Charleston County EMS paramedic crew chief Daniel Cobiella also were recognized at the event for their work.

On Sept. 13, Ong responded to assist the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office with a shooting in front of The Rock Club on Kimbell Road. When she arrived, she took charge of the scene “with great confidence” and performed chest compressions on the victim when his heart stopped, according to the police department.

“She was able to revive him, apply field dressing to his wounds and keep his heart beating until EMS arrived,” a letter from the department states.

The officer was in field training when the shooting occurred and her “dedication, compassion and professionalism” impressed everyone on scene, the letter states.

Gay was recognized for his heroism when he and his crew responded to a June 18 structure fire at the Joseph Paul Apartments on Bonds Avenue and rescued two victims, according to a letter from the North Charleston Fire Department.

“The two victims of this apartment fire were given a chance at life due to the swift actions of the members of NCFD led by Captain Gay,” the letter states.

Johnson was recognized for his response to an active shooting Sept. 8 at a West Ashley apartment complex, which killed Charleston County Deputy Joseph Matuskovic, 43.

“Placing his own life in danger as the (suspect) continued to shoot at deputies, Deputy David Johnson pulled Deputy Matuskovic from the front door area to a location that offered more cover and safety,” a letter states. “Deputy David Johnson acted without care of the possible consequences. This type of bravery and courage is uniquely held by few.”

Cobiella was honored for her response on June 8, 2013, to a car crash on Ashley Phosphate Road. While at the scene, an intoxicated driver came through an emergency barricade and struck five bystanders and two first responders, including Cobiella.

He continued to care for the others who were struck and didn’t stop until a supervisor ordered that he be treated at an ambulance on scene, a letter from his department states.

“Paramedic Cobiella epitomizes the best in Charleston County by his dedication to the mission, his hard work and dedication to the patients he treats every day,” the letter states.

Reach Melissa Boughton at 937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughtonPC.