Pelham honors veteran firefighter, police officer

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—The Pelham Police and Fire departments honored two veteran public safety officials during the annual Safety Awards Luncheon hosted by the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 29.

The Pelham Police Department recognized Al Sanders, a police officer with the department since 1990, as the department’s Police Officer of the Year.

“Al is an outstanding police officer,” Pelham Police Chief Tommy Thomas said. “He’s very professional and has a big heart.”

Thomas highlighted Sanders’s professionalism, dedication to the job and work to resolve the department’s numerous outstanding arrest warrants. Sanders traveled across the county and brought in around 60 individuals with open warrants. Thomas noted one individual emailed the department to commend Sanders for his kindness while serving an arrest warrant.

“Just because you have a warrant on you doesn’t make you a bad person, I tried to keep that in mind,” Sanders said.

The Pelham Fire Department honored Marcus Carpenter as the department’s Firefighter of the Year.

Carpenter has been with the Pelham Fire Department for more than 24 years and has displayed “unwavering dedication” to the job, Battalion Chief Mike Reid said.

“Mark is an excellent firefighter, EMT and apparatus operator,” Reid said.

Reid noted Carpenter’s “countless hours behind the scenes” working to improve the department’s safety and equipment. Recently, Carpenter has been helping the department transition to Scott Air-Paks, a new breathing device for firefighters.

“There’s a lot more safety built into the way we’re going (to fight fires),” Carpenter said of the new equipment.

Sanders and Carpenter were presented the awards in front of peers and community members from across Shelby County during the luncheon at the Pelham Civic Complex and Ice Arena.

“It’s an honor to get this award,” Sanders said. “I’m pleased to be a part of the Pelham Police Department.”

“I don’t really know what to say, I’m humbled by the experience,” Carpenter said. “It’s quite an honor.”