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Richmond Hill Exchange Club recognizes top first responders
Melanie Sherman 911 Disp of Yr and husband Joey
Melanie Sherman kisses her husband, Joey, after the Exchange Club of Richmond Hill honored her Wednesday as the 911 Dispatcher of the Year. - photo by Photo by Brent Zell

Several members of the Bryan County and Richmond Hill emergency services were honored during the 26th annual Public Safety Officers of the Year banquet Wednesday at the City Center.

The event was hosted by the Exchange Club of Richmond Hill.

One award recipient came in right after doing the work that made him an award-winner. Tim Stillwell, the Bryan County Firefighter of the Year, was out on a possible heart-attack call shortly before Wednesday’s banquet, according to Bryan County Emergency Services Chief Freddy Howell.

“He comes walking in in a T-shirt, apologizing, and I said, ‘Man, you were doing your job, doing what we pay you to do,’” Howell said.
Stillwell said he has lived in the county for 30 years.

“I don’t’ just work here, I live here, and I appreciate everybody that works and lives in this county,” he told the audience.

Howell cited Stillwell for going to emergency-management training school on his own and paying for it himself, as well as doing building projects at the stations.

Terry Getsch was named the Richmond Hill Police Department Officer of the Year. Getsch, a two-year member of RHPD, is currently in the special-operations unit with the criminal-investigation division, RHPD Chief Billy Reynolds said. Getsch, an Army veteran who went on six tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, graduated at the top of his class at Savannah Technical College’s police academy.

Reynolds said Getsch has become a “vital member of the organization” in his relatively short time at RHPD.

Sgt. Brendon Greene received the Richmond Hill Fire Department’s Firefighter of the Year honor. RHFD Chief Ralph Catlett praised Greene’s numerous certifications and work on grant projects, as well as being the department’s fire-plan coordinator.

That duty includes getting a floor plan of every business in Richmond Hill — a project that involves more than 500 businesses.

“He accomplished that task in a little over a year,” Catlett said.

Greene said he moved to Richmond Hill two years ago and said the city “has been incredible.”

Award winners from the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office were Eric Gaustad as Officer of the Year and Melanie Sherman as 911 Dispatcher of the Year.

Sheriff Clyde Smith said Gaustad has been with the department for 2½ years and Sherman has been there for nine, and cited each for doing a good job.

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