Rivertown Community Church was filled with law enforcement officers, first responders, elected officials, and family members to recognize First responder and law enforcement awards The event was sponsored by the Chipola Civic Club, Women’s Club of Marianna, First Commerce Credit Union and hosted by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
Jack Hollis opened the event with prayer but had some opening remarks prior to the prayer. Hollis said, “Heroes are born not made. Like the little old lady walking down the sidewalk and she hears a baby crying inside a burning house and she does anything she can to save that baby. If you see a police officer or first responder, shake their hand and tell them thank you, pick up their tab for a meal, sometimes that’s all it takes to make their day.”
Ronnie Furniss, Investigative Director for the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office gave a short overview of the Chipola Civic Club and the many contributions they make to Jackson County. He then introduced Quinton Hollis to present awards. Prior to the presentations, Hollis told those present ‘Why I want to be a cop’. Hollis said he never wanted to be anything else and he admittedly said when he started in law enforcement in 1983 with the Sneads Police Department, it was probably for all the wrong reasons – the action was certainly a drawing card. But Hollis stated that changed over the years and now helping someone is the best part of his job.
The first award given was to Patrick Kane, paramedic firefighter for Jackson County Fire Rescue. Kane has been nominated by his employer, Jackson County Fire Rescue, for the 2018 Chipola Civic Club EMS/Firefighter First Responder of the Year Award. Patrick was nominated because of his positive attitude and work ethic.
Through staffing challenges faced by Fire Rescue during the past year, his organization, leadership, and positive voice in support of those he serves with has been an inspiration. His dedication to the citizens of Jackson County during these trying times is to be commended and The Chipola Civic Club is proud to recognize his service to our community.
The second award went to Captain George Gay with the Marianna Fire Rescue. Captain George Gay has been nominated by his employer, Marianna Fire Rescue, for the Chipola Civic Club EMS/Firefighter First Responder of the Year Award. Captain Gay was nominated for several reasons. Fie has served his department and his community faithfully for 25 years.
During that time, he became certified as a Firefighter, Emergency Medical Technician, Fire Instructor, Wildland Forestry Instructor, Live Fire Instructor, Emergency Vehicle Operations Instructor, Fire One Officer, Fire Safety Inspector 1, Company Officer, FAA Unmanned Aircraft Pilot, Public Education through Clowning. Fie worked his way through the ranks, serving as a Firefighter, Engineer, Lieutenant, Captain, Fire Marshal and Training Officer. He worked his way through the ranks, serving as a Firefighter, Engineer, Lieutenant, Captain, Fire Marshall, and Training Officer. He served as the Fire Program Manager for Chipola College 2015 and 2016 and remains as an adjunct instructor for Chipola College.
On Feb 11 of this year, Capt. Gay and his family were on the way home from Church when a call came in of a person trapped in a crashed vehicle that was on fire. Captain Gay arrived several minutes before the Fire Department and used a 5-gallon bucket, to hand carry water from a spigot to the car which kept the fire in check until support units could arrive. Because of his quick thinking and actions, the occupant of the vehicle survived and is alive today.
Because of his dedication to the department and the community, and his heroic efforts, he was selected as the 2018 Chipola Civic Club EMS-Firefighter First Responder of the Year.
Captain Scott Edwards came to the podium to present the administrative awards. Edwards said, “The person chosen for Administrative Staff Award has been a member with the agency for 20 years and most definitely deserves this award. Even after I told her she was the recipient of this award, she named several others that she thought was more deserving, but I had to set her straight. She is one of those employees who doesn’t want recognition, but that is dependable, and never complains. She has always just done what has to be done to get the job done. She is the Assistant Administrator, but most importantly, she gets the paychecks out every two weeks. Help me thank, Crystal Hamlin for being a dedicated member of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and for her service.”
Edwards then presented the Dispatcher or Communications Member of the Year, “Like Mrs. Hamlin, she doesn’t want recognition or attention brought to her. But she has served for 19 years the citizens of this county as a behind the scenes person and life line to many, including citizens and deputies. She was recently assigned to the position of records clerk and is doing a great job in that position. Please help me thank, JoAnna Neel for being a dedicated member of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and her service to this community.”
Captain Virgil Watson of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office was called to give the investigator award. Watson said, “First thing I’d like to do is to thank everyone for being here. The gentleman that I have the honor to talk about, he started in 2012 as a patrolman, a deputy sheriff and he worked and I’ve watched him on his days off, he would come and ride along with other investigators just observe and watch what he needed to do. He really had the desire to be an investigator and you could see it. Last October he got the opportunity to be an investigator and I’m proud, he’s one of my best investigators. He is conscientious and he really has his heart into it and cares about people. Will Crisp, come up here. You are well deserving of this.”
Quinton Hollis returned to the podium for more awards.
Sergeant Adam Bowen has been nominated by his employer, The Sneads Police Department, for the Chipola Civic Club 2018 Law Enforcement First Responder Award. Sergeant Bowen, you were nominated by your department because of your positive attitude, work ethic, and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty to serve your community. For your dedication to the citizens of Sneads and of Jackson County, The Chipola Civic Club is honored to recognize your faithful service.
Trooper Battle has been nominated by his employer, The Florida Highway Patrol, for the 2018 Chipola Civic Club Law Enforcement First Responder of the Year Award. Trooper Battle is an 18-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol. He was in the 98th Recruit Class for FHP. He started off in Gainesville before transferring back to his home in Calhoun County where he was born and raised. Trooper Battle has volunteered his time as a Field Training Officer and is currently the Troop’s Background Investigator. He has demonstrated dedication to duty and love of his community by volunteering his time for safety talks and events throughout the panhandle of Florida, including Jackson County. He takes initiative by seeking out and scheduling safety talk opportunities within the community. He has been instrumental in educational events that help children and young adults learn the dangers of Drug and Alcohol Abuse and the consequences associated with this behavior. Trooper Battle is a long-time member of the Rapid Response Team. He has deployed many times for natural and manmade disasters throughout the state and outside the state of Florida. He deployed twice last year. Once they provided search and rescue and recovery efforts in support of hurricane Irma victims, and once due to civil unrest in Gainesville Florida. For his dedication to his chosen profession and love of his community, the Chipola Civic Club is proud to recognize Trooper Larry Battle for his service.
Deputy Angel Huyke has been nominated by his employer, The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, for the 2018 Chipola Civic Club Law Enforcement First Responder of the Year Award. Deputy Huyke immigrated to the United States when he was five years old with his mother and sisters. Once he graduated from high school, he joined the United States Army Reserves and still serves in that capacity. Deputy Huyke was nominated by the Sheriff’s Office for several reasons. He has a very calming demeanor and is always professional in his dealings with the public. He carries himself well and always brings honor to the uniform and the badge. First and foremost, he is proud to be an American, a Soldier, and a Deputy Sheriff. The Chipola Civic Club is proud to recognize his faithful service to our community and to our country.
Officer Harold Peterson has been nominated by his employer, The Marianna Police Department, for the Chipola Civic Club 2018 Law Enforcement First Responder of the Year Award. Officer Peterson serves as a School Resource Officer at the Marianna Middle School. He has been employed with the Marianna Police Department for just over a year. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps where he served for 20 years. He then became a sworn Law Enforcement Officer in Atlanta where he also served for more than 10 years. He later relocated to Florida and joined the Marianna Police Department as a Patrolman. In August of 2017 the School Resource Officer position at the Middle School became available and he transferred into that position. He loves being a School Resource Officer and also serves as a mentor to the students at MMS. Officer Peterson is married with two daughters and two sons. He recently obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Troy University. He accomplished more than most throughout his military career as well as his Law Enforcement career and is still going strong. The Marianna Police Department is proud to have Officer Harold Peterson as a member of their department and for his dedication to the youth of our area and his motivation to always improve himself to better serve his community, the Chipola Civic Club is proud to name him as THE 2018 Law Enforcement First Responder of the Year.
Commander Kevin Arnold with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office presented the award for Deputy and Rookie of the Year. Arnold said, “I am honored to be able to present these awards for deputy of the year and rookie of the year. These two recipients are very well deserved and they put their heart and everything they into the job that they do. I have witnessed that. The Deputy of the Year is Jessica Crisp. This names you Deputy of the Year in appreciation of your dedication, professionalism and service to our community.
The Rookie Deputy of the Year is Peggy Willis. Arnold said of Willis, “Peggy worked for the Department of Corrections for many years and decided that she wanted to give up that to come work for us and we are truly glad she did. She comes to work everyday with a smile on her face. She is always very pleasant on the radio and for all of that we want to recognize her for Rookie of the Year.”
The Honor Guard was then recognized by Investigative Director Ronnie Furniss. They are David Carlberg, Rick Kerr, Stan Sims, Jessica Crisp, Dylan Jackson, Trevor Lee, Caleb Corbin, and Angel Huyke.
All recipients received a plaque and lunch was served to everyone.