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Honoring the county’s finest
honoring 1
Winners of the Richmond Hill Exchange Club’s 2023 First Responders of the Year included, from left, holding plaques, Bryan County Fire and Emergency Services Firefighter/EMT Derek Wilson; Richmond Hill Fire Department Operations Chief Michelle Meacham; Bryan County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Campbell Grieninger; BCSO Corrections Officer Rebecca Kennedy; Pembroke Police Department Officer Raul Secundino is holding awards for Pembroke Detective Sgt. Brenda Tyson and Pembroke Firefighter Joseph Waters; Bryan County 911 Dispatcher Richard Jones. The winners were accompanied by supervisors and chiefs. Photos by Allie Robinson.

By Alex Floyd, Special to the News.

The Exchange Club hosted a lunch and awards presentation for all Bryan County’s public safety departments Wednesday at the Richmond Hill City Center.

The program was led by Mary Fuller and Chris Raiford. This is a long running tradition of the Club and looked forward to by members and the departments.

“The Richmond Hill Exchange Club was honored to award our local Bryan County First Responders with annual awards at our meeting today,” said Club President Mary Fuller. “We really want to acknowledge the hard work of our high performers in our police, sheriff ’s, fire and emergency services departments as they work to keep us safe every day and still go above and beyond.”

The opening prayer and pledge of allegiance was conducted by Richmond Hill Police Chief Mitch Shores.

Each department chose a member who had excelled in their service throughout the year and each presentation detailed the hard work and dedication these officers had exhibited to the citizens of Bryan County.

Winners included Richmond Hill Fire Department Operations Chief Michele Meacham; Bryan County Sheriff’s Office Deputy of the Year is Dept. Campbell Grieninger; BCSO’s Dispatcher of the Year is Richard Jones and the Corrections Officer of the Year is Officer Rebecca Kennedy,.

Pembroke Police Department Detective Brenda Tyson was named the PPD Officer of the Year, her award was accepted by Officer Raul Secundino.

Secundino also accepted Pembroke’s Firefighter of the Year award on behalf of the winner, Joseph Waters. Pembroke has had illness in both offices.

Derek Wilson was named the Firefighter/EMT of the Year for Bryan County Fire and Emergency Services.

Richmond Hill Police Department Detective Jesse Gonzales’ award was accepted proudly by his daughter Kaitlyn Hawkins.

Pembroke has had illness in both departments and heir awards for the Police and Fire Dept.’s were accepted by Officer Raul Secundino.

“The Exchange Club award is a big deal. I have one from years ago in Savannah and I keep it placed prominently,” Chief Shores said.

“We appreciate the Exchange Club and their thoughtfulness to recognize public safety,” Sheriff Mark Crowe said.

The Exchange Club’s next event is a Casino Night from 6-9:30 p.m. on April 1 at the Richmond Hill City Center. Funds raised will go towards child abuse prevention and awareness through local organizations. Tickets for this event cab be purchased online and through the Exchange Club by contacting Raiford at

More photos below.

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