Vail Valley public safety workers recognized
EAGLE COUNTY — Seven public safety professionals were recognized by the Eagle County Rotary Clubs of Eagle, Edwards and Vail and the Eagle County Public Safety Council at an awards dinner at the Donovan Pavilion in Vail on Sept. 10. Nominees were recognized for outstanding service to their communities and for their contributions to their respective professions.
• Business Partnership Award: Suicide Prevention Coalition of Eagle County.
The Business Partnership Award is presented to a business or organization for significant and sustained support for public safety in Eagle County.
The Suicide Prevention Coalition of Eagle County was formed in 2009 to raise awareness about suicide in our local communities, provide resources for suicide prevention and to aid families, survivors and those affected by suicide. The Coalition has formed alliances with professional community service entities to ensure resources are available to anyone in need. Through these partnerships, the Coalition has provided services to potential victims, families and our community via intervention training, and provided emergency responders with clinical support. It has provided hundreds, if not thousands, of community members with suicide awareness and prevention training.
The award was accepted by Avon Police Department Deputy Chief Greg Daly and Court Clerk/Police Records Supervisor Erin Ivie, of the Eagle Police Department, as representatives of the Coalition.
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• Lifesaving Award: Officer Craig Westering and Sgt. Christopher Botkins, Vail Police Department.
On Feb. 27, Officer Craig Westering and Sgt. Christopher Botkins were dispatched to a call of an intoxicated party lying in the roadway on an I-70 off-ramp. They found the intoxicated party and took him home to a local apartment complex in Vail. The intoxicated party led the officers to the seventh floor, and then ran from the officers. As he rounded a corner, he lost control and hit a railing. His weight carried him over the railing and an approximately 60-foot drop to the courtyard.
Westering grabbed the party’s left arm, and seconds later Botkins grabbed his right arm. The officers lost their grip as the party struggled and slipped out of his coat. He fell, but the way the officers controlled the fall caused him to fall onto the sixth floor landing instead of falling the full 60 feet to the courtyard below.
Due to Westering’s and Botkins’ actions, this man made it safely home to his apartment, shaken, but uninjured.
• First Responder of the Year: Rochelle (Shelle) Walker, Rock Creek Volunteer Fire Department.
The First Responder of the Year award is awarded to an officer from each public safety agency who demonstrates outstanding performance throughout the year.
Volunteer First Responder Rochelle Walker has a heart of gold when serving her neighbors. Night or day, Walker responds to all types of calls in our community as a volunteer with the Rock Creek Volunteer Fire Department. She serves as a firefighter, safety officer, EMT and as a board member in the role of treasurer. Walker has served with the fire department for over 14 years. She also helps community members with weddings, funerals and other special events in the McCoy community, serving as the face of the fire department.
• Distinguished Service Award: Rebecca Pacheco, Vail Public Safety Communications Center.
The Distinguished Service Award is presented to public safety professionals in recognition of outstanding and distinguished service to the people of Eagle County.
Rebecca Pacheco has over 25 years of service with the Vail Public Safety Communications Center. She began her career as a dispatcher, became a supervisor, served as interim director and currently serves as supervisor/CAD manager. During her career, Rebecca has trained and mentored over 50 employees, including every current employee. Having performed all aspects of all job functions within the communications center, she is a valuable asset to the team in terms of experience and capability.
• Leadership Award; Dwight Henninger, Vail chief of police.
The Leadership Award recognizes public safety leaders who advocate and accomplish significant advances in policies and programs that benefit the safety of the people of Eagle County.
Vail Chief of Police Dwight Henninger served as the chair of the Safety and Security Committee for the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. Working in cooperation with the Vail Valley Foundation and FIS, Henninger coordinated the public safety efforts of over 30 local, state and federal public safety agencies, including providing situational awareness training by The Cell to over 2,000 volunteers and community members. The work by Henninger, along with the work he inspired and compelled others to do, culminated in a successful, safe, international event that was lauded by all agencies involved.
Eagle County Rotary Clubs and the Eagle County Public Safety Council congratulate all of the award winners for their outstanding service to their communities.