American Legion post honors officer

Staff Writer

JACKSON – A Jackson police officer has been named the first recipient of the Conspicuous Valor Award from American Legion Post 504.

Officer Anthony Riso recently received the award in recognition of his efforts while responding to a house fire in November.

Post 504 spokesman Barry Kakos said, “Aside from veterans and active military personnel, we look to honor public servants like Officer Riso for his selfless act of heroism.

“Valor and heroism go hand and hand and Officer Riso, like all police officers, showed his commitment to protecting the community.

“The American Legion strives to honor those serving in the military primarily … but by recognizing a police officer we are recognizing all of our first responders,” Kakos said.

According to police, Riso was an initial responder to a house fire on Pfister Road just after 4 a.m. Nov. 14.

Riso and officers Edward Travisano and Jody Benecke observed flames covering the rear and roof of the house and smoke billowing from other areas of the home.

The officers came across two residents who had escaped the fire, a woman and a girl. They told the officers that a 43-yearold wheelchair-bound man was trapped in his bedroom on the first floor.

Police said Riso entered the home and found the man, but he was unable to move the resident because of the man’s medical condition and because items in the bedroom were blocking the way. Riso then left the house so as not to be overcome by smoke, according to police.

At about that time, Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 Assistant Chief Timothy Carson arrived and was preparing to enter the home.

Riso, who had experience as a volunteer firefighter, put on a breathing apparatus and entered the home with Carson. They found the man, led him to a window and helped him escape by guiding him to Travisano.

During the rescue, firefighters worked to keep the fire from making its way to the man’s bedroom.

Police said one dog was found in the home and brought outside. Travisano located a second dog in a different room, but the dog would not come out.

At that point, Riso entered the home for a third time and carried the dog to safety. Subsequent to that, firefighters entered the home and rescued a third dog.

Police said the fire was deemed to be under control by 5 a.m. Riso was treated for smoke inhalation and a laceration.

Riso was also the recipient of the 2014- 15 American Legion Ocean County Police Officer Award for Valor.