Area men honored by Iowa Governor for actions during fire ...

A trio of local men were among four honored by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds for their actions during the February 2020 fire at Gus & Tony’s Pizza and Steakhouse in Waukon. Dan Mathis, Dan Liddiard and Barry Nobles, all of Waukon, were among those in attendance at the combined 2020 and 2021 Governor’s Lifesaving Awards ceremony held Thursday, December 16 in the State of Iowa Capitol Rotunda in Des Moines. Archie Jorgenson of Harmony, MN was also involved in the February 10, 2020 event but did not attend the ceremony. A total of 35 individuals from communities across the state of Iowa were recognized for their courageous responses during the December 16 event that combined awards from the years 2020 and 2021 due to the 2020 ceremony not being held during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The nomination information that accompanied the awards for the local men included the following: During the morning hours of February 10, 2020, a restaurant in Waukon caught fire. Daniel Mathis, Archie Jorgenson, Daniel Liddiard and Barry Nobles saw the fire, stopped, and came to the aid of the residents of an apartment located above the restaurant. The residents, including two small children, were attempting to escape through the second floor window, but a longer ladder was needed. Mathis and Nobles retrieved their work ladder, but it was not tall enough. When Jorgenson arrived, they used his taller work ladder to reach the residents. While Jorgenson, Liddiard and Nobles aided from the ground, Mathis climbed the ladder, getting all of the residents and the family dog out of the apartment through the window.

All three men in attendance are pictured in the surrounding photos with, left to right, Iowa Lt. Governor Adam Gregg, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens. Mathis (pictured in top photo courtesy of the Iowa Department of Public Safety) was honored with a Lifesaving Award, which is awarded to those individuals who have attempted to save the life of another individual but did not necessarily put their own life in jeopardy. Both Liddiard (center photo courtesy of the Iowa Department of Public Safety) and Nobles (photo below courtesy of Kelly Liddiard), along with Jorgenson (not pictured), received a Meritorious Service Award, which is awarded to those individuals in recognition of courageous and unselfish service rendered during a time of distress.

During the ceremony, Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens remarked, “These Iowans intentionally and selflessly provided aid and assistance in times of need. It’s an honor to celebrate those who placed the needs of others above their own and answered the call to serve.”