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Exchange Club recognizes those who serve
Not often do the men and women who work in public safety receive the positive recognition they deserve.
On Saturday evening, several of those who serve in that field in Tehama County did receive much appreciated recognition during the Corning Exchange Club's annual Police and Firefighter Awards Banquet.
"We grapple with what makes you do what you do," said Linda Watkins-Bennett, the event's mistress of ceremonies. "But we are thankful you do it."
During the annual event, 18 people were presented plaques expressing appreciation for their service.
"You come from different backgrounds, but you're the glue that literally binds communities together in time of stress. And the amazing thing about all of you is that the very things you do when you're on duty to save peoples' lives, you would do when you're off duty. There's not much separation," Bennett stated.
Corning police Chief Don Atkins presented to the Police Officer of the Year" award to Officer Ian Anderson, who has been with the department for 41⁄2 years.
"Ian has a very strong work ethic and a positive attitude towards his job. He is one of the top officers leading the department in arrests and citations. But for him it is not all about arrests and citations, he has taken his share of calls and reports and always does a thorough investigation," Atkins said.
The chief noted a time last year when the city was hit with a rash of gang graffiti.
"Ian was able to come up with a suspect, got a confession and the suspect was prosecuted," Atkins said.
Anderson was recently selected by his supervisors to become a field training officer. He has also served as a Taser and bean bag gun instructor.
Atkins presented Community Service Officer of the Year award to Ron Robbins, who has worked with the department for two years.
"Ron wears several hats. His job has him working as the animal control officer, the evidence officer and water meter reader. When he isn't busy doing those jobs, he is taking paperwork to the District Attorney's Office, taking evidence to the Department of Justice lab, notifying people of possible water shut offs, turning on and shutting off people's water, and between all these things, he is doing things for the officers," Atkins said.
Adding to all that work, Atkins said Robbins is doing the work of two community serve officers as the other officer has been out with an injury.
"I'm sure when Ron applied for the CSO position he didn't know what he was getting into, but we're glad he did," Atkins stated.
Corning Volunteer Fire Department dispatcher Frank Rua was presented the "Dispatcher of the Year" award by Chief Martin Spannaus.
"Frankie has been a dispatcher with the department for 31 years. He is our dispatch supervisor simply because he knows more about dispatching than any man living," Spannaus said. "He is competent, capable and does a wonderful job."
The department's Firefighter of the Year award went to Flint Nichols. Spannaus said Nichols is extremely involved in the community, coaching baseball, wrestling and other sports, holds a full-time job and still makes time to be a volunteer firefighter.
"He is dedicated, enthusiastic and has a special insight into the department," Spannaus stated.
Presented with the Corning Rural Fire Department's Firefighter of the Year was Roy Geer, a retired CalFire employee.
"Roy started as a firefighter in high school in work experience. In 1978 he joined the Corning Rural Volunteer Fire Department and decided to do it as a career at CalFire. Although he has retired from CalFire he is still serving as a volunteer firefighter," said department Chief Jim Allen. "Roy is always active and responding to calls."
Bennett, who has served as the event's mistress of ceremonies for many years, was presented a special award from the Exchange Club, as was Walt Mansell, based on is career as a California Department of Fish and Game lieutenant and continued leadership in the California Rifle and Pistol Association.
Tehama County Sheriff Dave Hencratt presented the Deputy of the Year award to Deputy Stephen Hoag; and Sheriff's Lt. Dave Greer presented the department's Volunteer of the Year award to Melissa Hernandez Velazquez.
California Highway Patrol Lt. Todd Garr presented the Officer of the Year to Officer Shaun Hoover, and the Employee of the Year to Officer Supervisor Coral Ferrin.
CalFire and Tehama County Fire Department awards were presented by CalFire Battalion Chief Randy Rapp to Firefighter of the Year Kevin Oliver, and Volunteer of the Year to Jeanine Hart.
Tehama County District Attorney Gregg Cohen presented legal secretary Debbie Allard with the Employee of the Year award.
California Fish and Wildlife Warden Mitchell R. Carlson was presented the "Warden of the Year" award by Capt. Scott Willems.
Red Bluff Fire Department Div. Chief Matt Shobash presented Wesley Morgan and Dave Griffiths with Firefighters of the Year awards.
Red Bluff Police Department's "Officer of the Year" went to Officer Matt Coker, and Cindy Spurgeon was named Dispatcher of the Year.