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RH Exchange Club honor public safety officers
Giving back to those who serve
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The Richmond Hill Exchange Club 2016 Public Safety Officers of the Year are, from left: Thomas Crummett, 911; Cpl. Ruben Acosta, RHPD; Capt. Kathy Hicks, LCSO; Sgt. Jacob Cribbs, RHFD; and Justin Poppe, BCEMS. In the center is Exchange Club President Bob Mock. - photo by Photo by Alena Cowley

Wednesday was a day in which one local club recognized its community’s top public servants, men and women who often are lifelines during emergencies.

"You get I don’t know how many calls a night and it’s always somebody’s worst day out there and it’s my job to make it not so much," Bryan County 911 Dispatcher of the Year Thomas Crummett said. "I love it. It’s not about the paycheck. It’s about helping people out."

The Exchange Club of Richmond Hill saluted five officers during its annual Public Safety Officers of the Year Banquet Wednesday afternoon at City Center.

Crummett said it was humbling to be elected by his peers.

"Honestly, I wouldn’t say I deserve it, but those around me do, so I’m not going to complain," he said.

He has been working for two and half years and was an active duty military police dispatcher before that.

BSCO Officer of the Year Capt. Kathy Hicks is a certified deputy overseeing Bryan County’s 911 department. She is a 27-year veteran and is living a lifelong dream.

"It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, from the time I was a little girl, and I went in right after high school," she said.

Richmond Hill Police Chief Mitch Shores said RHPD Officer of the Year Ruben Acosta has been with the department since 2008. The chief said Acosta’s police reports initially impressed him.

"Ruben’s very highly motivated and dedicated to the department and our city and demonstrates it through his work ethic," Shores said.

Sgt. Jacob Cribbs was the Richmond Hill Fire Department Officer of the Year and was called "extremely self-motivated," by RHFD Chief Ralph Catlett, who said Cribbs was instrumental in reducing the department’s ISO, or insurance service office, rating.

Bryan County Emergency Services Director Freddy Howell said public safety was "not hot on the career path right now," before presenting Lt. Justin Poppe as the Firefighter of the Year.

"Some kids don’t look up and say, ‘When I grow up I want to be a firefighter,’ ‘I want to be a police officer’," Howell said. "They’re not saying that and that’s pretty sad because we need police officers and we need firefighters."

Howell said Poppe builds morale and "motivates his crew to do a lot of stuff that goes beyond what their normal duties are."

The Exchange Club has hosted its Public Safety Officers of the Year banquet for 30 years, according to member Lynn Bennett.

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