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Meet 10 of Butler County’s Hometown Heroes

To honor ‘service above self,’ Rotary clubs across Butler County recently honored 29 Hometown Heroes from the ranks of police, firefighters and emergency medical services.

The honorees will come together at the Hometown Hero Awards dinner Sept. 30 at Tesla BioHealing & MedBed Center on Route 8 in Butler Township, where the top three award winners will be further honored.

Read about ten of the 29 honorees below. Ten more will be featured on social media tomorrow and another nine on Friday.

To see the full list of 29 honorees, visit

Kory Fleming

Kory Fleming, a Butler City police officer, finds his current job is a natural progression from the four years he spent in the United States Marine Corps.

Fleming, a seven-year veteran of the department, spent four years in military service, including being deployed twice to Afghanistan. He joined the department in 2016 after attending the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Police Academy.

Related Article: Kory Fleming
Cindy Speer

After almost 25 years of working in emergency medical services and with a passion for helping her community, 57-year-old Cindy Speer called receiving a Hometown Hero award a great honor.

“I dedicate a lot of time to make sure the ambulance goes out the door to help someone in need,” Speer said. “I feel very blessed that the folks that provided me with this award recognized me as someone who makes a difference.”

Related Article: Cindy Speer
Jeremy Nickl

When an emergency strikes, Jeremy Nickl, 48, of Mars, steps up to help and has been doing so for more than three decades.

He is a full-time 911 dispatcher for Butler County; and part-time paramedic for Cranberry Township EMS; a lifetime member of Adams Area Fire District in Adams Township; and as a firefighter and paramedic for Callery VFD.

Related Article: Jeremy Nickl
Aaron Natali

Aaron Natali has been the operations supervisor for the Butler Ambulance Service for the past six years, but he’s been involved in fire and paramedic services since he was 16.

That’s when he joined the former Lyndora Volunteer Fire Department.

Related Article: Aaron Natali
Chuck Lewis

Long before the Hometown Hero awards were created, Chuck Lewis is a name that many in the community likely would have recognized as a Hometown Hero.

At 64 years old, Lewis has been a volunteer paramedic with the Saxonburg VFC Ambulance for the past 31 years, since 1992.

Related Article: Chuck Lewis
Jeff Hollidge

Jeff Hollidge isn’t just the chief of the Harrisville Police Department. He practically is the police department.

As of September, Hollidge is one of only two officers on staff at the police department, and the only full-time officer. The other officer splits his time between Harrisville and another job at Conneaut Lake.

Related Article: Jeff Hollidge
Allie Palmer

Empathy and compassion are what drive Allie Palmer to do what she does every day as a paramedic.

Palmer has worked as an EMT for about five years with the Slippery Rock Volunteer Fire Company and Rescue Team. The most meaningful part of the job, she said, is helping people.

Related Article: Allie Palmer
Pat Kelly

At 70 years old, Pat Kelly has spent 32 years serving her community as a deputy chief/paramedic with 28 of them at Quality Emergency Medical Services in Adams Township. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed.

She was recently recognized as a Hometown Hero by the Rich-Mar Rotary Club.

Related Article: Pat Kelly
Mandy Cousins

Mandy Cousins, community outreach coordinator with Cranberry Township EMS, said she began her career at 16 years old — and hasn’t lost her passion for it.

“That was a long time ago,” she said, laughing. “I was just interested in helping my community and helping people, so when I was 16, I became an EMT.”

Related Article: Mandy Cousins
Joe Beachem

Karen Kennedy spent 35 years teaching in New Jersey before moving back to Pennsylvania. When she attended the Saxonburg Borough Police Department Citizen’s Police Academy class, Kennedy listened intently.

Kennedy, 83, thought Saxonburg police chief Joe Beachem, led a class that communicated information in a way adults could grasp better than other seminars. When it came time to do a ride along and sit with Beachem during traffic stops, she was prepared.

Related Article: Joe Beachem

To see the full list of 29 honorees, visit

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