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Police officers, firefighters honored at annual luncheon

SLO Fire Chief John Callahan, second from left, is congratulated by Betsy Umhofer, with the office of Lois Capps, after being awarded with the Lifetime Achievement Honor during the 18th Annual public safety appreciation lunch to recognize city police and fire departments who serve the community at the Embassy Suites Hotel in SLO. Chief of Police Deb Linden, center, and Tim Williams owner of Digital West, far left, MC'd the event.
Photo by Nick Lucero  03-30-10
SLO Fire Chief John Callahan, second from left, is congratulated by Betsy Umhofer, with the office of Lois Capps, after being awarded with the Lifetime Achievement Honor during the 18th Annual public safety appreciation lunch to recognize city police and fire departments who serve the community at the Embassy Suites Hotel in SLO. Chief of Police Deb Linden, center, and Tim Williams owner of Digital West, far left, MC'd the event. Photo by Nick Lucero 03-30-10 Tribune

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:









SLO Police Chief Deborah Linden presented Distinguished Service awards to the following recipients:





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