The best of the best of the local public safety officers for 2008 were honored by their peers and the Richmond Hill Exchange Club last week.Each year, the Club looks to each of the local public safety departments, and each officer, medic and firefighter casts a vote for which co-worker is most worthy of the annual award.
The presentation of the 2008 awards was held Feb. 25 at the Richmond Hill Quality Inn.
Awards were given out to the following individuals: Bryan County Firefighter of the Year, Ed Wills: Bryan County Medic of the Year, Thomas Cook; Richmond Hill Police Officer of the Year, Cpl. Jack Frost; Bryan County Sheriff’s Department Officer of the Year, Deputy Matthew Lynn; and Richmond Hill Firefighter of the Year, Michael Patrick.
RHPD Chief Billy Reynolds took the podium to introduce Frost, who has been with the department for eight years. He said Frost’s efforts since recently being assigned to the Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team have helped clean up the drug problem in Richmond Hill.
Frost said he has learned a lot from CNT "that has helped me make an impact on this community – and we continue to do so." He gave a special thanks to fellow CNT officer and BCSD investigator Butch Ward, who he said has been a mentor to him since coming aboard CNT.
Bryan County Fire Department Captain Mike Smith said Wills is the first two-time winner of the award, having also won last year.
"In 2008, he took on our junior firefighter program and has done a tremendous job with that … He has attended more fires and first responder calls than all the other firefighters," Smith said.
Bryan County EMS Director Susan Clark took the podium to introduce Cook, who "joined us in 2004 and has made a big impact on this department."
She said Cook graduated from paramedic school last year, which "has made him an even better EMT, and I’m glad to have him on our team."
BCSD Lt. David Ellis and Sheriff Clyde Smith both commended Lynn for being a superior officer who is respected by his peers.
“I was told at a young age that when you surround yourself with success, you have no choice but to be successful,” Lynn said. “With the many officers of the Richmond Hill and Pembroke Police Departments and the deputies of Bryan County around me, that’s why I’m here to receive this award. I do so in their honor.”
RHFD Chief said Patrick is more commonly known as “Tiny” during the eight years he has been a Richmond Hill firefighter.
“Tiny is the guy you want to come in and get you if you need to be toted out because he can get it done,” Rushing said. “As big as he is, he can make it through a 16 by 20 inch whole in the wall in full uniform.”