Congratulations, first responders

Published 8:32 am Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Last Wednesday was a good day for firefighters and law enforcement officers throughout Shelby County, and plenty of our public servants were quick to point it out.
“This is something we in the public safety business enjoy coming to each year,” Alabaster Police Chief Curtis Rigney said during the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce’s annual safety awards luncheon on Oct. 29.
During the event, nearly every law enforcement and firefighting agency in Shelby County awarded their top cops and firefighters of the year as they outlined some incredible stories about these men.
One of the most striking stories from the event was from Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sheriff John Samaniego as he described his Deputy of the Year: Robert Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, who works in the SCSO Tactical Response Unit, arrived on the scene of an incident earlier this year involving a military veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Through calm and professional diligence, Rodriguez was able to diffuse the situation without injury or loss of life, which certainly could have happened had he not intervened.
A similar story came from the Calera Police Department, which honored Cpl. Michael Poe as its officer of the year.
According to Calera Police Chief Sean Lemley, Poe and another officer arrived at an incident earlier this year only to be promptly shot at. Once again, through calm and calculated action, Poe was able to diffuse the situation without injury to anyone.
Several local fire departments also told tales of their firefighters’ dedication to serving those in their communities.
Notably, the North Shelby Fire District named volunteer firefighter Turner Herron as the department’s Firefighter of the Year for his selfless dedication to serving others.
“Turner was chosen by his peers by an overwhelming majority to represent us here today,” North Shelby Fire Chief Eugene Tyler said. “Turner receives his payday from helping others, and to me, that means a lot.”
Congratulations, public servants. Because of you, we can always rest easy knowing we are safe.