Medal of Valor awarded to former Shelbyville firefighter


What started as a typical day flared up quickly a few months ago for former Shelbyville firefighter Adam Gaudin. He rescued a woman trapped inside a burning building.

The initial 911 call came in as a domestic disturbance on the east side of Indianapolis, but when the emergency crew arrived, flames were shooting from an apartment building. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) personnel on scene reported a person was trapped inside.

Within minutes, Gaudin faced the biggest challenge of his nine-year career in fighting fires and being a paramedic. The Shelbyville native pushed through intense heat and flames searching for the victim, pushing himself to keep looking despite knowing the intense heat was burning his skin. While it seemed to take forever, he rescued her in just four minutes.

She made a full recovery following that near fatal experience.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, along with Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) Chief Ernest Malonge, presented Gaudin with the IFD Medal of Valor on January 31 during the 28th Annual Indianapolis Fire Department Recognition Banquet at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in downtown Indianapolis. He was honored for his “professionalism, dedication and willingness to risk (his) own life in the face of extreme conditions to save another”, as written in the transcript from the event.

Seventeen other firefighters were listed in the banquet’s program as working at the scene of that two-alarm fire with Gaudin. Each received the IFD Professional Excellence honor for their “professionalism and dedication while performing under very difficult conditions.”

Thirty-year-old Gaudin, the son of Rick and Debbie Gaudin of Shelbyville, had high praise and respect for the crew he works with at Station 10, 2970 N. Sherman Ave., Indianapolis.

“Their my brothers and sisters. (Rescuing a victim) could have happened to any of us. I happened to be the lucky one,” he said. “I’m lucky and blessed that I could do my job. We don’t do this for the awards.”

“We’re very proud of him,” said Debbie Gaudin, who Adam said was a big influence on his career choice.

“Having a mom as a nurse and seeing her care for others and how compassionate she was helped me determine what I wanted to do,” he said.

On Feb. 23, Debbie will observe her 40th year as a registered nurse at Major Health Partners. Sixty-year-old Gaudin currently works in the MHP Oncology Department.

Her son has been a firefighter and paramedic in Indianapolis for four years. He started his training in Shelbyville in February 2011. Gaudin received his St. Francis paramedic training here and worked in the Shelbyville Fire Department through the summer of 2015.

“I enjoyed working for the hometown,” he said. “There are lots of medic calls in Shelbyville. I still keep in contact with many (firefighters) there.”

But, when the opportunity became available, Gaudin joined IFD and moved to Indianapolis. “It’s a larger department with a larger volume of calls and more to do.”

Gaudin, a 2008 graduate of Shelbyville High School, said the Station 10 crew responds to three to four runs a day never knowing what to expect.

“That’s the number one reason why fire and police arrive on scene, and why on medical runs you send the fire department,” he said. “That way there is a full complement of capable people on scene.”

Gaudin is part of a two-man team that includes an IMPD officer. They have the tools to break things to allow access into areas at emergency scenes with the sole purpose to search for life and get the victims out to safety.

He recalled the night of Nov. 23, 2019, when he rescued the woman from that burning apartment building on the east side of Indianapolis: