First responders, law enforcement officers and others were recognized Wednesday for their efforts to serve and keep the public safe in Washington County.
The Washington County Chamber of Commerce’s Public Safety Awards ceremony recognized a range of life-saving rescues, crackdowns on crime, behind-the-scenes logistics and community service.
Chamber President and CEO Paul Frey noted in opening remarks that, during the pandemic, many people were able to work from home and spent time with household projects and family activities.
“But the story was different for you, our first responders and health care professionals,” Frey told the 130 or so people gathered at the firehall in Fairplay. “You couldn’t do your work from home or over a Zoom conference call.
“You were on the job and available 24/7, 365 days a year.”
Richard Brown received a Volunteer Achievement Award as a live-in firefighter with Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Co. A video about his accomplishments noted that the 45-year veteran of fire service, for example, cleaned and returned fire apparatus to service after a house fire last Christmas so his colleagues could go home to be with their families.
“Thank you an awful lot,” Brown said to his company’s officers.
Retired Hagerstown Fire Marshal Doug DeHaven, who began his career at age 16 in 1980 with the Volunteer Fire Co. of Halfway, was also recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
“I appreciate it, and it’s a testament to the people who worked around me that things were getting done, things were so progressive and we were keeping the community safe,” he said. “It’s a credit to those who worked under and around me to make that happen.”
Hagerstown Police Department Detective Nicholas Varner received the Community Service Award. He was recognized for, among other things, his work as president of the Police Athletic League and service as a youth ministry leader at Lifehouse Church.
“In our community, we have a lot of great volunteers, police officers and public safety personnel who volunteer countless hours, and to be recognized for it means a lot to me. So thank you very much,” Varner said.
Afterward, Hagerstown Police Chief Paul Kifer, who himself received a Distinguished Service Award, praised his officers for their dedication and professionalism.
“These guys and gals go out and do phenomenal things every day, and these are just small examples of the things that happen,” he said. “These guys will do anything and everything to make sure that people are safe, and I can’t say enough about that.
“I’m so blessed and honored that I get to work with these guys every day.”
This year’s slate of awards is listed below.
Distinguished Service Award
This award is presented to a responder who is distinguished from all others of their rank or position. They perform above expectation, demonstrate responsibility and initiated a credible accomplishment in the previous year.
Robert Buck, Community Rescue Service deputy chief
Eric Byers, Hagerstown Community College director of public safety
Hagerstown Police Chief Paul Kifer
Volunteer Achievement Award
This honor is presented for volunteer dedication and initiative above and beyond the call of duty that has affected and benefited the people of Washington County and beyond.
Richard Brown, full-time, live-in firefighter with Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Co.
Lifetime Achievement Award
The recipient of this award encompasses leadership and an exceptional work ethic, and has consistently performed above and beyond normal expectations throughout a career.
Doug DeHaven, retired Hagerstown Fire Department fire marshal
Medals of Valor
The silver award recognizes acts of bravery involving great personal risk beyond the call of duty.
Silver medal recipients:
• Deputy Paige Albert, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, for intervening in a rape in progress
• Deputy Javier Montenegro, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, for intervening in a rape in progress
• Master Police Officer Richard Dean, Hagerstown Police Department, for a suicide intervention
• Officer First Class Tyler Helman, Hagerstown Police Department, for a suicide intervention
• Officer Zachary Kimmel, Hagerstown Police Department, for a rescue from an apartment fire
• Trooper First Class Timothy Bennett, Maryland State Police, for intervening in an assault
Unit Achievement Award
This honor is awarded to any bureau, division, section, unit or squad exhibiting extraordinary performance or attention to duty, and for an outstanding contribution to the department or the welfare of others.
Fire/emergency medical services category recipients recognized for a complex rescue operation on Interstate 81 when a 30-ton crane crashed and rolled over, trapping the driver for an hour and 32 minutes:
Maugansville Goodwill Volunteer Fire Co.
Chief Mark Miller
Assistant Chief Charles Shindle III
Engineer Cameron Knotts
Engineer William Garrett
Firefighter Toby Sowers
Firefighter Brandyn Hines
Long Meadow Volunteer Fire Co.
Lieutenant Scott Adams
Driver/Operator Shawn Wieczorek
Firefighter Mike Schultz
Firefighter Bradley Taylor
Community Rescue Service
Paramedic Ashley Hess
Paramedic Rachel Rosebrock
Washington County Special Operations Team
Firefighter Darron Hamrick
Firefighter Ben Hoopengardner
Firefighter Dave Olson
Rescue Hose Company No. 1 Greencastle, Pa.
Chief Kevin Barnes
Lieutenant Joseph Sellers
Chief Engineer Keith Mowen
Driver/Operator Brian Barkdoll
Firefighter Riley Bailey
Firefighter Tyler Barnhart
Firefighter Connor Elyard
Firefighter Jared Harman
Firefighter Jonas Holz
Firefighter Corey Mowen
Firefighter William Shaffer
Emergency Medical Technician Lisa Heaster
Emergency Medical Technician Ashley Kaas
Washington County Division of Emergency Services
Dave Chisholm, deputy director of operations
Kevin Lewis, deputy director of administrative services
Jon Hart, assistant director for fire
Sam Anderson, operations manager for fire
Oley Griffith, volunteer coordinator
Law enforcement category
The Hagerstown Police Department Violent Crimes Task Force is being recognized for its work battling drug and violent crimes in the city. During a 30-day period in July and August last year, the task force initiative resulted in 33 arrests, 18 arrest warrants issued and 17 search and seizure warrants executed. The task force seized eight illegal firearms, fentanyl, MDMA, heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana, $38,000 cash and three vehicles involved in drug trafficking. A stolen vehicle was also recovered. Members of the team include:
• Sgt. Jesse Duffey
• Sgt. Steven Lucas
• Agent Brian Hook
• Officer First Class Scott St. Clair
• Officer Zachary Kimmel
Public Health category
Meritus Health staff and leadership, for their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This award honors an individual or team whose actions attempted to save or succeeded in saving a human life. The recipients demonstrate strong knowledge of medical and rescue efforts, quick action and a commitment to service on and off duty. Members of the Hagerstown Police Department recognized for alerting residents to an apartment fire and leading them to safety include:
• Officer Zachary Kimmel
• Master Police Officer Jon Molineaux
• Officer First Class Keith Fuqua
• Officer First Class Zachary Rowe
Community Service Award
This award is presented to an individual, group or organization who has worked to better the lives of those in Washington County inside or outside of their normal job duties, or has performed a single outstanding community service activity.
Hagerstown Police Department Detective Nicholas Varner was recognized for his work volunteering as president of the Hagerstown Area Police Athletic League. He also coaches youth soccer at the YMCA and is active at Lifehouse Church as a leader in the youth ministry program and volunteer in the church’s community outreach…