Rotary Club Recognizes Local First Responders

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By Kevin Sutton

We are very blessed here on the Emerald Coast to have such great public servants. Recently, the Rotary Club of Niceville-Valparaiso took the opportunity to say thank you to a few of our everyday heroes for all the great work they do to keep our community safe and secure. These first responders truly live the Rotary motto of Service Above Self. In April, the Rotary Club of Niceville-Valparaiso recognized the top police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians for 2020 from each of our local departments for their outstanding service to our community. The award recipients included: Valparaiso Police Department Officer of the Year, Officer Jeremy Craghead; Valparaiso Fire Department Firefighter of the Year, Lieutenant Timothy “Alex” Winkler; Niceville Police Department Officer of the Year, Corporal Kristin Pond; Niceville Fire Department Firefighter of the Year, Battalion Chief Matthew Webster; East Niceville Fire District Firefighter of the Year, Engineer Austin Hinton; North Bay Fire District Firefighter of the Year, Firefighter Tyler Gagner; Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) Security Forces Category I Civilian of the Year, Officer Tony Hendrix; Eglin AFB Security Forces Category II Civilian of the Year, Mr. Fred Staub; Eglin AFB Security Forces Airman of the Year, Senior Airman Kyra Wheeler; Eglin AFB Security Forces Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, Technical Sergeant Barton Gonzales; Eglin AFB Security Forces Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, Master Sergeant Floyd Ford; Eglin AFB Security Forces Company Grade Officer of the Year, Captain Helen Ensley; Eglin AFB Military Firefighter of the Year, Staff Sergeant Austin Schubert; Eglin AFB Fire Department Civilian Firefighter of the Year, Mr. Nathan Shalduha; Eglin AFB Fire Department Military Fire Officer of the Year, Master Sergeant Stephen Sanabria; Eglin AFB Fire Department Civilian Fire Officer of the Year, Mr. Jimmy Reed; Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Deputy of the Year, Deputy Brandon Mundt; Okaloosa County Emergency Medical Services Person of the Year, Emergency Medical Technician Cody Davis. We are proud of the accomplishments of these first responders, and we are grateful for their efforts to make the Twin Cities area a safer place to live.