The February 19, 2014 Awards Dinner of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion covered many bases from teachers to military and firemen to law enforcement.
Officer of Year honors went to Sergeant Hameed Khan of the Gridley-Biggs Police Department. Khan has worked for the department since 2001 after working at the Colusa County Sheriffs Department ten years. Starting out as an Officer, he was promoted to Detective tfor wo years before becoming a Sergeant in 2009. He and his family live in Biggs and his son Ali is a Reserve Officer with GBPD after being sworn in in January of this year.
Dispatcher of the Year honors went to Ruth Hennessy who has worked for the department 25 years starting out as the Animal Control Officer in 1987. In 2002, Hennessy took two years off and returned in 2003 as Animal Control Officer and part time dispatcher. In 2005, Hennessy went to part time dispatch and took on the job of Evidence at the same time. She has been doing both jobs ever since and enjoys being part of a hard working focused team.
“Our goal of professional public safety is something we take pride in and I am honored to be a part of such a team,” she stated.
Roque Zarate received the Fireman of the Year award. He started as a volunteer firefighter in 2007 in Gridley and was hired as a seasonal firefighter with CAL-Fire in 2008. He worked at fire stations in Cohasset and Paradise before promoting to Firefighter 2 in Gridley in 2010. He is a member of the CAL-Fire water rescue team and has been involved in several water rescue incidents throughout the county. Roque has completely updated the pre-plan process for the fire department and completely updated the hydrant mapping system the fire department utilizes. He is currently preparing for the promotional process to become an Engineer. Roque is well respected by his peers and is recognized for his solid work ethic and dedication to duty.
Manzanita Elementary teachers Catherine Walther and Darlene Fredericks were honored as Teachers of the Year followed by Boy Scouts/Eagle Scouts Taylor Law, Kyle Rutter, Harrison Hunter, Darlin Havens, Jairo Tena and Jesse Brown.
Pearl Harbor survivor Vere Gardner was recognized and Homer Lane who died last month was posthumously honored.
Ed Kawasaki, Past Commander of the VFW was recognized for his years of service with the local organization and presented a plaque by Al Byers.
Award pins for the Ladies Auxiliary were presented to the following members: Five year pins - Evelyn Hohman, Jo Pickler; Ten year pins - Patricia Byers (who has held the office of President for the last ten years), Wanda Hodges, Evelyn Ingraham and Janie Holdaway; 25 year pins - Lulubelle Clapp, Hiroko Sasaki and Diane Yates. 35 Year Pin - Jane Kawasaki.
Pat Byers presented Evelyn Hohman with an award for her the excellent job she performs as Auxiliary Treasurer.
Auxiliary Jr. Vice President Lynne Spencer was given an award in appreciation of her public relations work. Sherry and Bob Moorehouse of Oroville were given an award for their constant support.
Veterans of Foreign War members who were awarded their anniversary pins were: 10 year pin - Richard Teesdale; 15 year pin - Ray Jorgensen and Richard Shirley; 20 year pin - Stevan Longoria, Dave Morton and Bill Wescott; 25 Year Pin - Art Bell, Maurice Dalton, Loran Hammond and Harvey Scholljegerdes; 30 year pin - Joe Carbajal; 40 year pin - Joe Howard, Floyd North and Bill Thebach; 45 year pin - Ron Sample and Carrol Lewellen; 65 year pin - Charles Paul Paulhamus and a Buddy Poppy Pin; Commander pin and Past Q.M. pin - Al Byers; S.V.C. Pin – Joe Nichols; J.V.C. pin and Poppy pin - Frank Joe Ruggirello; Trustee Poppy Pin - Bill Pickler; Judge Advocate - Vere Gardner and Q.M. and Past Commander pins - Ed Kawsaki.