Abraham Mahshie – Contributing Writer
Outstanding public servants were recognized by the Franklin Police Department, Macon County Sheriff’s Office and area fire departments in year-end award ceremonies across the county. Several of the awarding departments responded to media inquiry.
Franklin police chief David Adams said awards for best supervisor, officer and a community impact award represent year-long devotion to public service in the Franklin Police Department.
“He’s a cop’s cop,” Chief Adams said of Officer of the Year Elijah Kirkland, who helps other officers, trains new officers and continues his own education. “He still has a passion for it.”
Reserve officer Donna Hogsed won the Community Impact Award for her volunteer efforts in support of local activities involving things like safety; and Sgt. Tony Ashe won the Ernie Wright Leadership Award as the department’s top supervisor.
Chief Adams said the awards make a difference to officers and give them important recognition in the public.
The Macon County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) handed out awards in four categories, with Deputy of the Year going to Nick Lofthouse; Detective of the Year to Tim Holland; Detention Officer of the Year to Holly Bradley; and School Resource Officer of the Year to Anthony Zari.
The sheriff also recognized administrative assistants Sheri Hughes and Cori Sellars, and Detention Officer
Brent Ledford with the Above and Beyond Service Award. Employees were nominated and selected by their peers for their outstanding service to the community and presented during the MCSO annual Christmas and Employee Appreciation Dinner.
Otto Fire and Rescue recognized Sandy Watts as Firefighter of the Year among its 29 volunteer firefighters for the number of calls she has gone on, her
dedication throughout the year, and her commitment to training by obtaining additional firefighter and medical certificates, said Lt. Darren Worley.
Franklin Fire and Rescue Chief Matthew Breedlove helped hand out awards to several retiring and long-standing volunteer firefighters, underscoring the organization’s need to continue recruiting public servants.
Cheyenne Carson was recognized by his peers as Firefighter of the Year for his hard work, dedication and performance, while Todd Seagle, a former lead 911 telecommunicator and supervisor, was recognized for 20 years of service.
Lt. David Rusch and firefighter Rick Rogers both retired from the volunteer firefighter service with 38 and 22 years of service, respectively. Firefighter Jerry Wright was also recognized for 35 years of service and remains active.
“They have been assets to our department,” said Chief Breedlove. “We are always dealing with recruitment and retention and are always seeking new volunteers.”
Breedlove said Franklin Fire and Rescue currently has 29 volunteers but has had up to 36 in years past.