The Greater Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual Law Enforcement Firefighters Appreciation Dinner yesterday evening.

About 450 people attended the event where the chamber gave away 13 awards to local public servants.

“We are so grateful for everyone who came out today to celebrate our public servants,” said Stacia Runnels, Director of the Chamber of Commerce.

Award winners included:

Merit Award — Communications Officer

Dispatchers Katina Rutherford and Rachel Brown received the Merit Award for Communications Officers of the Year.

Rutherford and Brown were honored for their role in a May 13 incident in which Officer Zachary Lastra responded to an active shooter threat, and was seriously injured during the arrest of one suspect when his left arm went through a glass window.

The pair handled getting Lastra life saving medical assistance, monitoring over 50 offices involved in the search of another suspect, and handling 168 events logged in reference to this call within a four hour time period, not including other non related 911 emergencies.

Merit Award — Volunteer Emergency Medical Technician

The 2019 Merit Award for Volunteer Emergency Medical Technician of the Year went to Sallie Loessin. Loessin is a nine year member of Harrison County ESD#4.

She was honored not just for her skills as an EMT but also for her dedication, having furthered her education during personal time to become a certified firefighter with SFFMA.

Merit Award — Volunteer Firefighter

The Marshall Ford Lincoln/Maverick Chevrolet Volunteer Firefighter of the Year award was given to volunteer firefighter Justin Blassingame. He has been a volunteer firefighter for 16 years, responding to over 149 calls in the last two years.

Along with his volunteer work Blassingame works full time, serves on the security team at Woodlawn Baptist Church, and is the captain over vehicle repair and maintenance of the Woodlawn Volunteer Fire Department/ESD6.

Merit Award — Reserve Law Enforcement Officer

Bert Scott received the VeraBank Reserve Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award at this year’s dinner. Scott began a career in public service with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office in 1994 as a civilian jail employee.

He attended the East Texas Police Academy and has since earned the served as the Assistant Fire Marshal, Sheriff’s Office SWAT team medic, and Reserve Deputy Sheriff.

Special Merit Award — Emergency Medical Technician

Jobuck Siler of the Marshall Fire Department received the Emergency Medical Technician of the Year award.

Siler is a full time firefighter and paramedic with Marshall FD, and also serves as a CPR and Advance Cardiac Life Support instructor.

Special Merit Award — Firefighter

Justin Cox received the Special Merit Award-Firefighter for this year.

Cox has worked in his department since December of 2005 and is recognized for his ability to train other firefighters.

Special Merit Award — Law Enforcement

Sergeant Brandon Headrick of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office is the recipient of the Special Merit Award for Law Enforcement this year.

Headrick began his career with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office as a jailer, which he served as for five years. He was then promoted to Patrol K-9 Sergeant where he served four years before being promoted to CID Narcotics.

Headrick was promoted in February 2017 to the rank of Sergeant. This year alone he has seized over $500,000 in drugs.

Above and Beyond Award

Royce Allen, responder for Woodlawn Volunteer Fire/ESD6, received the Above and Beyond award this year.

Allen joined the department in 1983. He has achieved a Level II Certification as a Volunteer Firefighter from the Firefighters’ and Fire Marshal’s Certification Boardstill and still responds to almost every incident, though he is nowSergeant James McConnel, Officer Stacy Roach, and Officer Jhellyn Monreal for the Tristen Jackson Humanitarian Award. in his 70’s.

Tristen Jackson Humanitarian Award

Sergeant James McConnel, Officer Stacy Roach, and Officer Jhellyn Monreal all received the new Tristen Jackson Humanitarian Award this year.

These officers were honored for an incident that occurred on May 8 where they responded to a major accident involving a tractor trailer and a passenger car.

Two male occupants in the passenger car were found deceased with the brother of one of the passengers driving in a car in front of them, and witnessing the death of his brother. The officers provided the brother with a hotel room, a phone charger so he could contact his family and overall with compassion during a horrible situation.

Clay Medrano Merit Award-Law Enforcement.

Lieutenant Ron England was awarded the Clay Medrano Merit Award.

England served as a U.S. Marine for four years before being honorably discharged and attending the East Texas Police Academy where he graduated in 1998.

He became a second generation Peace Officer and spent 13 years in Law Enforcement before he found his home at the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office in 2011. England has been promoted to Sergeant on Patrol, then to the Criminal Investigation Division, and then to Lieutenant on patrol. He is also on the Harrison County Honor Guard and the Team Leader of the Harrison County SWAT Team, where he is a door breacher.

Sam B. Hall Jr. Special Meritorious Award — Law Enforcement

Deputy Matthew Argenbright, Harrison County Sheriff’s Office, received the Sam B. Hall Meritorious Award-Law Enforcement this year.

Argenbright is being honored for a traffic stop he made with other deputies, where the suspect ran from officers. He pursued the suspect in the dark when he fell on a concrete retaining wall, breaking his arm in multiple places. He did not let this stop him, and continued the pursuit though he ended up needing a plate and seven screws in his arm.

Bill Sullivan Sr. Award — Firefighter of the year

Lt. Rod Rodriguez, received the Bill Sullivan Sr. Firefighter of the Year award.

Rodriguez is honored for both his skills as a firefighter, and as a trainer. He was recognized for saving his department over $10,000 when last year Marshall Fire purchased a new command vehicle and Rodriguez used his welding skills to make the vehicle safe, organized, and efficient with out the department being forced to purchase a ready-made design.

He also serves as Fire Chief of the Jefferson Volunteer Fire Department.

G.O. Cooper Award — Law Enforcement Officer of the year

Sergeant Terence Dmitri Helton, Texas Highway Patrol, Marshall, received the G.O. Cooper Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award.

Helton was commissioned in 1986, stationed in Canton and then later in Longview. He later returned to serve his hometown community as a Trooper in 1989.

During Helton’s time with the Texas Department of Public Safety, he served as a community liaison. Helton received an Honorable Discharge when he retired from service with the Department of Public Safety on August 31 this year.

Additional photos of the recipients will be featured in the Thursday edition.