News and Tribune

March 6, 2014

Pence honors New Chapel firefighter

Battalion Chief Donovan Harrod recognized for rescuing drowning man


UTICA — A local firefighter got quite the surprise Thursday when Indiana’s governor honored him with a public safety award.

Gov. Mike Pence recognized New Chapel Battalion Chief Donovan Harrod for saving a Clarksville man who accidentally drove into a pond off Charlestown Road in October.

“Because of the courage of this firefighter, that man [from] Clarksville is alive today,” Pence said. “He embodies the true Hoosier spirit that lives in each and every public safety personnel across the state.”

The Clarksville man, Chad Lovan, had a medical emergency that caused the accident, and firefighters happened to be on scene nearby in front of Mercy Providence Retirement Home when Harrod rushed to the rescue.

“It’s a great honor to be acknowledged like that. We do this job all the time on our own,” Harrod said. “We don’t look for that every day and we just do it because we enjoy it. We never look for the pats on the back.”

Lovan’s father, Keith Lovan, was present when the award was given.

“He [the governor] just recognized what these guys do every day,” Keith said. “They don’t act like it’s any big deal. Everybody takes them for granted. They shouldn’t.”

Pence said that the chief’s story is just one example of heroism across the state.

“For me, there’s nothing more poignant or more instructive than a story that illustrates a thousand other stories,”

Harrod’s father, Kelly Harrod, was informed of the surprise honor ahead of time and was also present when the governor singled out his son.

“He’s been at this a long time, he’s done a lot of things good for the county and to be recognized is just extra special,” Kelly said. “They’re all just dedicated, good guys. They’re all willing to put it on the line any time.”

The governor also thanked all the firefighters as well as other public safety personnel for their service, especially during the past few months.

“I just thought it was very important, after we got through some of the worst of it in January, to take time consistently to thank our first responders and let them know that the storm keeps coming again and again and again that the gratitude of the people of Indiana is very real,” said Pence, who has been traveling around the state to personally show his thanks. “In the midst of a lot of sacrifices that they and their families are making, Hoosiers have taken notice and Hoosiers are very proud.”