Chamber presents Safety Awards

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Special to the Reporter

The Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce held its annual Safety Awards Luncheon in October. The luncheon recognized and honored the officers and firefighters of the year.

Awards were given in Alabaster, Calera, Helena, Pelham, North Shelby Fire District and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department.

The chamber and city officials recognized individuals who were chosen by their peers because of their commitment, leadership in the community and dedication to public safety.

Police officers of the year were Officer Rodney Prince from Helena, Sgt. Jeff Anthony from Alabaster, Deputy Matt Johnson from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department, Officer Devan Gilkerson from Pelham and Sgt. Sean Lemley from Calera.

Firefighters of the year were Jim Golden of Alabaster, Randy Sipe of North Shelby Fire & Rescue, Daryl Ray of Calera, Jack Clark of Helena and Sam Douglas of Pelham


Sgt. Jeff Anthony, Police Officer of the Year from Alabaster, has been with the department since February 1997. He has displayed tremendous leadership qualities in the field and was promoted to the class of patrol sergeant after only four years with the department. Less than two years later, police administrators noticed that he possessed the unique ability to communicate with people, no matter their background. He was placed in the Criminal Investigative Division, where he remains today. Fellow officers say he has continued to set the standard for future detectives and remains the &uot;go to&uot; guy when a difficult case needs to be solved.

Firefighter of the Year in Alabaster was Firefighter Apparatus Operator Jim Golden.

Golden has worked with the department since May 1999 after working the Auburn Fire Department’s student program. He moved to Alabaster last year in order to serve the city better and has rapidly advanced in the department. He now works out of Station 2 in the city.

Fellow firefighters say he is a loyal employee and has dedicated himself to the profession through education, holding certifications in most of the Alabama Fire College’s certification programs. During the past year, he has been instrumental in developing a five-year comprehensive plan for the department.


Police Officer of the Year for Calera was Sgt. Sean Lemley, who has been invaluable in moving the Calera department forward in firearms training and officer safety. He was instrumental in researching and providing data to supervisors when a decision was being made concerning swapping from shotguns to patrol rifles and continues to bring new and innovative ideas to the table in Calera.

Calera Firefighter of the Year was Daryl Ray, who has only been with the department for one year but has had a tremendous impact on the organization. He came to Calera from the Birmingham Fire Department and in his first year, was instrumental in spearheading Calera’s first 5K run to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Fellow officers say Ray has &uot;an exceptional attitude, is always willing to lend a hand and is eager to get the job done.&uot;


Rodney Prince was honored as Police Officer of the Year for Helena.

He has been with the department since October 1997 and has been in law enforcement for 25 years. During 2004, he logged more than 400 calls for service with 109 arrests and several felony warrants issued as a result of his evidence work. In addition to his patrol duties, he teaches classes on driver’s education and identity theft and is a certified evidence technician. He is also an active member of the Alabaster Church of God. He is married to Dee Prince and they are raising five grandchildren and a nephew.

Firefighter of the Year Jack Clark has four years of service in Helena and two with the Birmingham department. He is a lifelong resident of Shelby County and has completed an associate’s degree in fire science and a bachelor’s degree in public safety administration. This past year, he has completed three certificate courses from the Alabama Fire College.


Devin Gilkerson was named Police Officer of the Year. Gilkerson joined the department in October 1999. He is currently assigned to the patrol division working the night shift. Fellow officers say Gilkerson &uot;has a special talent that keeps him alert and attentive to his job, keeping everyone safe as they sleep.&uot;

Fire medic Sam Douglas was Firefighter of the Year. He has been with the department for 20 years. &uot;Fire Medic Douglas is what the fire service needs: people who are willing to make a decision when it counts for something, when something is at stake,&uot; fellow firefighters say.

Shelby County Sheriff’s Office

Deputy Matt Johnson was honored as Police Officer of the Year for the sheriff’s office. Johnson is a crisis negotiator. On Sept. 18, 2004, he was called to the scene of a mission person threatening to shoot herself at Oak Mountain State Park. He began talking to her after arriving on the scene and was able to resolve the situation with no one getting hurt. He was honored for his &uot;professionalism, restraint and compassion.&uot;

North Shelby County Fire & Rescue

Fire Medic Randy Sipe was honored as Firefighter of the Year for the North Shelby Fire & Rescue. He has worked with the department since 1998, and during that time, has distinguished himself as a dedicated and professional firefighter. He possesses state certifications in firefighting and paramedicine