Hillcrest Hospital Honors Community Service Award Winners

Retired chiefs from Mayfield Heights and Gates Mills are selected.

honored its 2011 Community Service Award winners on Tuesday at .

This year's winners were retired Fire Chief Michael J. Forte and Charles LoBello, police chief from 1997 to 2007. David Bronson, president of Cleveland Clinic Regional Hospitals, said the winners were examples of what it means to serve the community.

"Without a sense of caring, there really is no sense of community," Bronson said.

Forte, who was nominated by Mayor Gregory Costabile, recalled riding his bicycle by the hospital when he was 12 years old and seeing a small, community facility.

"I had no idea then that this community hospital would become the world-class medical facility that it is today," he said.

During his 24 years as fire chief, Forte oversaw a department that grew in response to an increase in EMS calls and a need for disaster preparedness. He also saw that  equipment and training were updated to keep up with current technology.

Forte also served as the Northeast Ohio Fire Chiefs representative on the Aluminum Cans for Burned Children Board of Directors, was the Hillcrest area representative on the Cuyahoga County Emergency Medical Services Advisory Board and was the paramedic representative to Hillcrest Hospital until his retirement.

LoBello said he was honored to have been nominated and praised the Gates Mills Police Department for its professionalism.

"They practiced community oriented policing before community oriented policing was a buzzword. They've been doing it for 30 years," he said.

He also complimented Hillcrest area leaders for forward thinking in creating the Hillcrest Council of Governments in the 1970s.

"The Hillcrest region was doing regionalization before that started becoming a buzzword," LoBello said.

Retired as a police chief, LoBello serves as executive secretary of the Cuyahoga County Blue Coats, an organization that supports family members of safety forces workers who die in the line of duty.


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