By Sam Conner
Members of the Winslow Elks Lodge hosted a banquet Feb. 20 in honor of those who serve as policemen, firefighters, correctional officers and deputy sheriffs. Kathy Contreras narrated the program and introduced those who were being honored.
Winslow Fire Department Captain Mary Ann Smith, who retired after 31 years of service to the department, was honored for her lengthy service to the community, during which she took the time to teach CPR to professionals and laymen alike. There will be no way of knowing how many lives that knowledge may have or will save. She was also instrumental in setting up the 911 system in Winslow and maintaining its upgrades. She has always been willing to help anyone in need.
Corporal Chuck Hodge of the Winslow Police Department was also honored. Hodge recently retired after 25 years of service with the department. He is known to have helped thousands of people throughout his career and was one who would be sought out by those who were victimized. He has a good sense of humor. Hodge worked hard, and was devoted to Special Olympics and the young athletes he worked with in that program for many years.
Correctional Officer Jordon Mills was honored as the Correctional Officer of the Year by Warden Betty L. Larson. Mills has only served as a correctional officer since November 2012, but she has shown herself to be proficient in all aspects of yard operation and has a willingness to work all posts. She has built trust with the staff and with the inmates. She is known for her honesty, integrity and ability to get the job done. She is currently a staff instructor for self-defense.
Department of Public Safety Trooper Jerry Hancock was honored as the Trooper of the Year. She has been with the department a little over three years stationed in the Winslow area. She has six children, and is highly involved in her church and helps with its programs. According to Trooper Jim Curnutte, she has performed her duties well. He cited one incident when she got a call about a man standing on the ledge of a bridge between Winslow and Flagstaff preparing to jump and commit suicide. She responded to the scene and began talking to the man. She built a level of trust so that when negotiators from the Winslow Police Department arrived, she and they were able to persuade him to come off the ledge and go with them.
Deputy Ray Patterson of the Navajo County Sheriff’s office was honored as the Outstanding Deputy of the Year. He has been the highest producing deputy in the Winslow, Joseph City and Holbrook area. He works with the Holbrook and Winslow police departments, DPS, the Department of Child Safety, the Adult Protective Services, and Adult and Juvenile Probation Department. He also assists other deputies and helps in the training of new deputies.
The Elks Lodge also honored the Friends of the Library for their help with the lodge’s Christmas Basket program and with remodeling the auditorium where the banquet and many other community functions are held.
By Sam Conner