Chamber awards public servants of the year
by Staff Writer
Bill Russell, President of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce, announced the honorees and gave a description of just part of the reason that they deserve their award.
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The 2012 honorees are:
Officer Mathew Sheppard of the Cornelius Police Department
“Office Matthew Sheppard responded to a call on July 20, where a patient was having a heart attack. When Sheppard arrived, the patient was unresponsive, not breathing and had no pulse. Sheppard immediately began CPR on the patient.
While Sheppard was performing CPR, a neighbor, who is also a certified nurse, came in and asked if she could help. She hooked the patient up to an AED while he was performing CPR. A shock from the AED was administered. Sheppard then continued CPR until Fire and Medic arrived.
The patient was taken to the hospital and on July 24, the family was informed the patient was brain dead and they would need to consider taking him off of life support. On July 27, the patient opened his eyes, spoke two words, and responded to commands. The doctors told the patient’s wife this was nothing short of a miracle. They attributed his recovery to Officer Sheppard’s quick response and actions. The patient is now recovering at home and doing well.”
Officer Melvin A. Waller Jr. of the Davidson Police Department
“Officer Melvin Waller began working with the Davidson Police Department in November of 2006. He has demonstrated dependability by being accessible for his peers and providing guidance where it is needed. Waller has consistently demonstrated attention for detail with regards report writing and criminal investigations.
In April of 2012, Waller was summoned to Davidson College to assist their police department with an unruly crowd of students from various colleges in the surrounding area. Waller accessed the situation and with calmness began working to minimize the impact the crowd was having at one particular fraternity house on campus. Waller’s bravery and poise limited the amount of arrest needed to regain control of the situation and prevented injuries.
Waller has also quietly assumed the role of representing the Davidson Police Department at law enforcement functions, and memorials. In May, during the law enforcement memorial, Waller, along with several officers from various jurisdictions joined in a bike ride to Washington D.C. The group rode a total of 500 miles in treacherous weather conditions to honor officers who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
Detective Tim Lesser of the Huntersville Police Department
“Detective Tim Lesser has been assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division since 2009 and routinely displays professional pride and loyalty to his career and seeks to uphold daily the Huntersville Police Department’s Core Values of Honor, Professionalism and Dedication.
Lesser played a vital role in many cases throughout the last year, specifically, a double homicide that occurred on Sept. 30, 2011. Lesser was selected as the lead investigator, did an excellent job of guiding the investigation that included trips to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for follow-up and obtaining warrants on the suspect for two counts of 2nd Degree Murder.
The assigned Mecklenburg County ADA has made reference to how thorough Lesser has been with the investigation along with his attention to detail and his organizational skills. Even though an arrest was made months ago it is still considered an active investigation and Lesser is following up on leads to this day reporting those to the District Attorney's Office in a timely manner.
Lesser exhibits behaviors that facilitate effective team member interaction and is often sought out by his co-workers for advice and guidance. This has allowed him to maintain excellent relations with members of the Huntersville Police Department but also with others outside the Department.
Chief Potter states “By doing this, Detective Lesser has built an excellent reputation based on his attitude, maturity, work quality and skill set. His actions over the last year along with the qualities I have described above I believe make Detective Tim Lesser an excellent nomination for 2012 Lake Norman Public Safety Officer of Year.”
E.J. McCormick of the Cornelius Fire Department
“E.J. McCormick has been with the Cornelius Fire Department for three years this month. McCormick has become a vital member of the Department and to the Town of Cornelius. For the past year McCormick has been a part of the training staff and has worked countless hours preparing and conducting training classes for the entire department. He has taken time out of his own personal schedule to travel outside of Cornelius to gain knowledge on the Fire Service and different training methods.
His actions have made the members of the Cornelius Fire Department better at doing their job and most importantly, safer doing their job. McCormick has a positive and aggressive attitude, which is great in the fire service. His love for the job and Cornelius Fire is infectious and his aggressiveness drives him to get the job done when duty calls.
His chief states “I can guarantee that E.J. will be serving the Town of Cornelius for a long time to come and I see his advancement in the ranks a given. The town is lucky to have this young man protecting them and it is a privilege to serve with him each day.”
Firefighter Matthew Jovic of the Davidson Fire Deparment
“Firefighter Matthew Jovic is a senior history major at Davidson College and has been a member of the Davidson Fire Department since his freshman year. He initially completed his firefighter training quickly and devoted much of the summer break after his first year to completing his EMT certification. His sophomore year, he participated in our student live-in program; living in the fire department quarters and serving on three duty shifts, which meant that in addition to his studies and college activities he spent 7-9 nights a month on duty at the fire station. He continues to serve on two duty crews instead of the department required one duty shift.
This year he represented the fire department in the Davidson College Realizing Your Risk program for all incoming freshmen. He met with groups of first year students to discuss campus safety and wellbeing issues as well as recruited potential fire department volunteers from the campus community. There is a longstanding tradition of Davidson College student members of the Davidson Fire Department but few over the years have been such an integral and active part of our operations as Jovic. He will be missed when he graduates in May. “
Brent Irvin of the Huntersville Fire Department
“Brent Irvin joined the Huntersville Fire Dept in 2004 at age 14 as a junior Firefighter. Since that time he has been very active and has completed his North Carolina Firefighter I and II certifications along with his North Carolina Emergency Medical Technician certification. These three certifications all total approximately 500 hours that he completed as a volunteer firefighter. He is currently enrolled at CPCC in the Fire Science Program.
At the same time he has spent countless hours detailing fire apparatus and helping with community service projects. He is the kind of firefighter that the department can count on to do any job that is asked of him. Out of our 78 member fire department, Brent responded to the most volunteer calls this past year.
Irvin just started his career with the Charlotte Fire Department where he was chosen from over 2,000 applicants.
Larry Irvin says, “As Chief of Huntersville Fire Dept., I am proud to have devoted young firefighters like Brent. As a father, I am proud to see my son follow in my footsteps as he is a third generation firefighter with the Huntersville Fire Dept.”
Koppy Williams of the North Meck Rescue
"Koppy Williams joined North Meck Rescue in 1989 after moving to the Huntersville area from West Mecklenburg. Prior to joining North Meck Rescue, Williams had been an member of the Newell Volunteer Fire Department in 1971, and was a member of the Moores Chapel Volunteer Fire department from 1977-1988 (Moores Chapel merged with Wilkinson Blvd. in 1983 to form the West Mecklenburg Vol. Fire Dept). In 1989 he also joined the Gilead VFD and is currently an active member with the Huntersville Fire Department (Gilead VFD and Huntersville VFD merged in 2010). Not only has Williams been in the Fire/Rescue service since 1971, he spent 30 years as a police officer, starting out with the Mecklenburg County Police and retiring from CMPD in 2002.
Wiliams has been an invaluable member of the squad. He is one of most reliable members on the roster, showing up when others can’t. During his 23 years on the squad he has served as Chief, Asst. Chief, Board Member at large just to name a few. Williams’ continued dedication to helping people is a great asset to the North Mecklenburg Volunteer Rescue Squad and the community we serve."
Inge Garrison – 2012 Champion for Victims' Rights
For her work and dedication to protecting and helping victims of domestic violence and for promoting the drive to bring a magistrate to the Lake Norman area, Inge Garrison from Presbyterian Hospital received the Victim’s Rights Award.
Presbyterian Hospital operates a model forensic nursing program. If victims report to the hospital, trained sexual assault nurse examiners will provide medical care, screen for STDs and medical injury and collect evidence associated with assault to be used in prosecution.
When a victim of domestic abuse reported to Presbyterian, Huntersville, they were redirected to Charlotte because of the lack of a magistrate.
When the issue was brought to Garrison, she immediately responded with a focus on mission and on service. She realized that too many victims were declining to go to Charlotte.
Thus began the process of building a SANE program for Presbyterian Hospital. UFS connected Presbyterian to the Peninsula Community Foundation, who agreed to purchase some o the specialized equipment needed. UFS began recruiting volunteers to serve as rape crisis companions, supporting victims during examination.
Presbyterian, led by Garrison, took on the greatest work – training a pool of nurses for Huntersville; dedicating space; began working through policies and procedures. All on track for a hard opening in December.
Additonal award recipients
For her help assisting police catch bank robbery suspects, Nancy McGahey was presented with the Crime Stopper of the Year award. McGahey was not present at the award ceremony.
For his continued dedication to the Crime Stoppers program, Tommy Davis was the reciepient of the Honorary Crime Stopper award.