Dungarvin Honors Staff for Courage and Selflessness

Oct 02
Robert Longo, National Director of Operations
Dungarvin National Central Office

Dungarvin is humbled and honored to present the Peggy Porter Award to Jeanne Gebhardt, Community Support Provider in Madison, Wisconsin.

Jeanne was the recipient of this honor due to her quick action, calm demeanor and unwavering courage in helping three individuals safely exit their apartment when it caught on fire earlier this year.

The morning began just like any other Saturday morning at the Yahara Program in Madison, Wisconsin. Community Support Provider (CSP), Jeanne Gebhardt was assisting the men who reside in the apartment with their morning routines. All three men, Jeff, Mark and Glenn have physical disabilities and use wheelchairs for mobility, but this by no means limits them from participating in very active lives and they were planning for a busy weekend.

As Jeanne was helping one of the men get ready for the eventful day ahead, Glenn began to yell. As she turned to look, she saw flames and smoke billowing from the dryer. The smoke coming from the dryer was thick and black; it was soon difficult to see anything in the apartment. Jeanne quickly sprang into action and contacted emergency services as well as the apartment on the floor below, where Dungarvin provides supports, for assistance. She rapidly began to assist the men to transfer to their wheelchairs and exit the apartment. This was no small task as all 3 men were in different places in the apartment doing different things. CSPs Binta Leigh and Corene Moody, as well as a neighbor, were instrumental in assisting with the swift evacuation. Jeanne’s courage, ability to remain calm, and focus on getting the individuals to safety was literally the difference between life and death.





Because of the heroic efforts of CSP Jeanne Gebhardt, the lives of three incredible men were saved that day. Dave Toeniskoetter, President, presented the Peggy Porter Award to Jeanne at an celebration in her honor on September 9, 2015. Also attending to celebrate Jeanne’s achievement were Bob Longo, National Director of Operations; Lori Kress, Regional Director; and Julie Josephitis, State Director.

Who is Peggy Porter?

On December 20, 2006 at approximately 4:00 p.m. Eastern time, a fire broke out at the Cannongate Court home in Columbus, Ohio. The fire claimed the lives of Peggy Porter, a direct service professional, and Tony Braithwaite, a person Dungarvin served. Additionally, John Cloppert, the other person served in the home, was severely injured. John has subsequently recovered from those injuries. Peggy attempted to extinguish the fire and also attempted to rescue Tony and John but all three were overcome by the heavy smoke.

Peggy had worked with Dungarvin for eight years and was a truly remarkable person of great humility. She cared immensely about Tony and John. It was this love and commitment that drove her in her last selfless act to try and save them. Dungarvin established the Annual Peggy Porter Memorial Award in early 2007. The purpose of the award is to honor Peggy’s memory and to remember her ultimate sacrifice.

Add A Comment

Required Field* Your email will not be displayed or shared.