The 13th annual Public Service Recognition Banquet sponsored by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce recognized multiple members of the county's emergency service agencies Tuesday..
The dinner, held each year, allows local fire, rescue and police entities to select and honor one of their own. Recipient categories included Outstanding Career Emergency Medical Services Provider, Outstanding Fire Services Provider, Outstanding Volunteer EMS Provider, Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer and Outstanding Emergency Communications Dispatcher.
The evening's festivities were held at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, who helped sponsor the evening. Serving as a Bronze Sponsor for the night was the Skinner Law Firm.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney and past president of the Chamber Charles B. Howard served as the host for the night.
Selected as the career volunteer by the Jefferson County Emergency Services Agency was Srichard Cluff, III who is an EMT with that agency. Ed Hannon presented Cluff with his award, citing many reasons why Cluff was selected for the honor including his dedication to service.
Receiving recognition as an Emergency Medical Service provider from the Shepherdstown Fire Department was John Edward Grove, II. Accolades were given to Grove for his dedication and commitment to the citizens of Shepherdstown and to the county. Joining Grove in receiving the EMS honor were Megan Lee Dignazio from Blue Ridge Mountain Volunteer Fire Company, Charles Feaster from Citizens Fire Company and Leslie Hess with Independent Fire Company.
President of Citizens Fire Company, Ronald Fletcher, told attendees that the company has only been running ambulance calls for a little less than one year. The company has been instrumental in offering assistance with such calls as they are located in a high call volume area in Charles Town.
Outstanding Fire Services Providers recognized at the annual banquet included Shepherdstown's Marshall Dodge DeMeritt. Chief Ross Morgan took time to share with the audience the many tasks DeMeritt has performed over the years he has been at Shepherdstown and what a valued member of the community he has become.
Joining DeMeritt in receiving Fire Services honors were Lloyd Henry Dignazio, Jr. with Blue Ridge Mountain Volunteer Fire Company, William Kocik from Citizens Fire Company, Aaron James Watson, with Independent Fire Company and Cody Starliper with the Middleway Fire Department. Bakerton's Fire Department chose to present their honor award to Bethel United Methodist Church. The church donated the land on which the fire company has built their station.
Shepherd University police officer Robert K. Seeders was chosen as that department's top law enforcement officer. He was recognized for his invaluable work on campus. Joining Seeders in receiving top law enforcement honors were Glenn Stevens with the Charles Town Police Department, Steven M. Holz with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department and Christopher J. Hill with the West Virginia State Police Charles Town Detachment.
The final honor of the evening was presented to Brooke Hess who was chosen as the outstanding Emergency Communications Dispatcher.
Howard pointed out that all companies and departments in the county were invited by the Chamber to select a recipient in the different categories. Some of those departments chose not to participate, for whatever reason.
Several businesses in the area donated door prizes which were randomly awarded to the unsung heroes in attendance.
Providing musical entertainment was Washington High School student Haelly Ramirez who performed the Star Spangled Banner and 'Hero'. 'The lament for the Children' closed out the evening and was performed on the bagpipes by Joe Kent.