CAPS highlights top firefighters of Naperville at 2023 ceremony

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Citizens Appreciate Public Safety (CAPS) held their annual award ceremony to honor exemplary acts of service by individuals in the Naperville Fire Department. This year’s ceremony was held again at Meson Sabika in Naperville, where attendees came together to honor the award nominees in a night of reflection for their service. CAPS relies on the eyes and ears of  Naperville residents, who submit nominations for public safety employees who go far above the call of duty to keep the community safe.  As in years past, the ceremony began with an outdoor display of emergency vehicles. Once guests found their way inside, the Pledge of Allegiance was led by the girl scouts of the Islamic Center of Naperville.  An invocation was led by Chaplain Aaron Lage, followed by the National Anthem sung by Sherriann Kelly. Attendees eagerly awaited the presentation of the highly anticipated George Winckler Award, CAPS’ highest honor for the Naperville Fire Department.

Naperville Fire Department Cadet of the Year

Cadet Brian Flynn

Naperville Fire Department CAPS Awards

Firefighter/Paramedic James Gibson

Lieutenant Charles Gros

Firefighter/Paramedic Joseph Koch

Lieutenant William Kostelny

Firefighter/Paramedic Kelly Connor

Firefighter/Paramedic Danielle Cook

Firefighter/Paramedic Eddie Fausto

Firefighter/Paramedic James Leslie

Firefighter/Paramedic Ryan Seifers

Firefighter/Paramedic Wesley Sewell

Firefighter/Paramedic Andrew Winckler

George Winckler Award

Named in honor of former fireman George Winckler, the award was awarded to Lt. Chuck Gros this year for his outstanding commitment to go above and beyond the call of duty. Lt. Gros gratefully accepted the award, stating that “we’re firemen, we just want to help people” and upon reflection added “all the things I’ve been able to do in my career, I’ve been very fortunate.”

George Winckler mentored many firemen in the department and was thought of highly by all who knew him. Unfortunately, during his career with the Naperville Fire Department, he suffered a fatal heart attack during a training exercise. His son, Andrew Winckler now wears his badge number in honor of him and presents the award each year with the CAPS Board. The award represents perseverance, a positive attitude, and integrity.

Board of Fire and Police Commissioners Award

Captain James Perkovich

How do you nominate someone for a CAPS award?

Citizens Appreciate Public Safety (CAPS) is a community group comprised of dedicated volunteers who believe that the bravery and acts of service by  Naperville police and fire personnel should not go unnoticed and unappreciated. Each year CAPS solicits nominations through Naperville’s citizens, who can submit noteworthy individuals for consideration through their website. The ideal candidate exhibits a great dedication to the community’s safety, often going above and beyond the call of duty to protect Naperville’s citizens. The CAPS Board meets to review nominations on specific incidents and actions accomplished throughout the year, then holds two award ceremonies per year, one in the fall to honor the Naperville Fire Department and one in the spring to honor the Naperville Police Department.


Check out May 2023’s CAPS Police Awards