Nineteen public safety officials, including Fire Chief John Callahan, were recognized Tuesday for their contributions to the city of San Luis Obispo.
The police officers and firefighters were honored at the 18th annual San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce’s Public Safety Appreciation Luncheon.
Volunteer retired Sgt. Vern Smith, 78, was awarded the Mary Winter Award, named in honor of a parking enforcement officer who died from breast cancer, for countless hours spent assisting the San Luis Obispo Police Department with dedication and commitment.
Smith, a retired deputy from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and a commercial pilot, is a “shining example of what the rest of us strive for,” San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deborah Linden said.
Fire Mechanic Bill Dugger received the Greg Otto Award, named in honor of a department veteran who died of pancreatic cancer, for decades of dedication to the San Luis Fire Department. Dugger is considered “one of the hardest-working and one of the most respected,” Callahan said.
Linden also surprised Fire Chief Callahan with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Callahan joined the San Luis Obispo Fire Department in 2004 after serving for more than 30 years with the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Distinguished Service award honorees
Fire Chief John Callahan presented Distinguished Service awards to the following recipients:
• Firefighter Jason Pratt assisted a man in April who was trapped in his van after a car accident. Pratt, who was off duty at the time, was able to carry the man to safety before the vehicle caught on fire.
• The Seagrave Team: Battalion Chief Mike Hogan, Capt. Pat Brady, Engineer Larry Parker, Engineer Matt Callahan and Engineer Jim Neel for hundreds of volunteer hours spent restoring the 1923 Seagraves Chemical Engine.
• Office of Emergency Service 271: Capt. Mike King, Engineer Ralph Martini, Engineer Ryan Mason and Firefighter Matt Polkow for their quick response to the Jesusita Fire in Santa Barbara in May.
• Strike Team Engine Three: Battalion Chief Chris Slate, Capt. Greg Logan, Capt. Bob Bisson, Engineer Larry Parker and Engineer Gary Hale also for their efforts assisting at the Jesusita Fire.
SLO Police Chief Deborah Linden presented Distinguished Service awards to the following recipients:
• Officer George Berrios, Officer Kevin Waddell and Records Supervisor Kathy Righetti for their dedication and contributions to the department.
• Communications and Records Manager Kerri Rosenblum for her oversight of the construction of the new emergency operations center, which will be online in July.