The Richmond Hill Exchange Club Public Safety Officers of the Year were honored Wednesday at the Richmond Hill Holiday Inn. Each year, the Club surveys the members of the departments and each winner is selected by their peers.
Richmond Hill Police Officer of the Year went to Star Cpl. Eric Gaustad; Richmond Hill Firefighter of the Year went to Lt. Andy Burriss; EMT of the Year went to Henry Lewis; and Sheriff’s Deputy of the Year went to Cpl. Dee Ann Kromer.
RHFD Chief Vernon Rushing said Burriss has been a firefighter for about 10 years, including five years with Bryan County. Burriss was promoted to Lieutenant and took over the duties of fire inspection and instructing following the recent sick leave of Leslie Barto.
"Andy loves what he does and he loves teaching other people about his job," Rushing said. "He’s great with the kids when he goes to the schools and is a very good instructor. He does a lot for us and he does it well, so that’s why he was selected for this award."
RHPD Chief Billy Reynolds said Gaustad is also very well-deserving of his award.
"Eric temporarily filled in and took over the patrol supervisor position recently and did an outstanding job," Reynolds said. "Now he’s assistant shift supervisor and he continues to do a tremendous job for the city."
Sheriff Clyde Smith said Kromer has continually impressed him since she started with the department seven years ago.
"Dee Ann started working for us in the jail," Smith said. "We saw potential in her, so we sent her to school before putting her on patrol. She’s been in that position for about five years and has really impressed us. And she must have the respect of her fellow officers because it was their vote that got her this award."
EMS Chief Susan Clark said Lewis is multi-talented and well represents the standards that her department wishes to uphold.
"Henry is very good with people and he is very well skilled in the medical field," Clark said. "He’s gone the extra mile by attending numerous paramedic classes. He is well respected not only in Bryan County but also at St. Joseph’s in Savannah where he works as an emergency room tech."
Due to a scheduling conflict, the Bryan County Firefighter of the Year will be recognized at a future meeting.