- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office honored exceptional service and dedicated careers at its annual awards and retirement banquet Nov. 2 at the Jaycees center in Waldorf.
Sheriff Rex W. Coffey (D) presented awards to 86 sworn officers, correctional officers, civilian employees and community members, and acknowledged the retirements of seven office personnel.
Silver medals of valor were presented to Sgt. Kevin Keelan, Cpl. Ronald Leukhardt, Cpl. Jermain Jones, Pfc. Pedro Alvarez, Pfc. Robert Herbert, Pfc. Stephen Duley and officer Byron Clark, who responded to a shooting that was the result of a family argument in July and entered a potential line of fire to render immediate, life-saving aid to two shooting victims.
Jones, Herbert and Duley, who were the first to arrive on the scene and made the decision to render aid despite being unaware of the gunman’s whereabouts, were also presented with Lifesaving Awards.
A bronze medal of valor was presented to Pfc. Mark Bourgeois for his brave attempt to save two children trapped in a house fire in August.
Meritorious awards were presented to Sgt. Erica Budd, Sgt. David Kelly, Sgt. Benjamin Voorhaar, Cpl. Matthew Thompson, detective John Dodge, detective John Elliott, detective Charles Gass, detective John Long, detective Jennifer McKenzie, detective Christopher Shankster, detective Patrick Tona, Pfc. Aaron St. Germain, Pfc. Robert Gottschall, technician Jim Ammons, technician Shelly Herold, technician Ernie Jones, technician Richard Lanning, Sharon Buckler, Ted Carson, Nick Ellis, John Filer, Steve Finch, Mark Hayes, JoAnn Gilhooly, Randy Larsen, Kellee Milheim, Ben Saunders, Joe Summers, Steve Sanford and Travis Walden for their dedication and ingenuity in recovering remains that had been scattered by nature along a wooded Nanjemoy ravine before being discovered by a hiker in January, and which were ultimately identified as those of a missing Prince George’s County woman whose suspicious disappearance had been investigated since August.
Meritorious awards were also presented to Sgt. Benjamin Voorhaar, Pfc. Aaron St. Germain and Pfc. Robert Gottschall for facilitating the safe conclusion to a standoff with an armed fugitive; Sgt. Jay Budd, Cpl. John Dodge, Cpl. Andrew Schwab, Cpl. Matthew Thompson, Pfc. Justin Alpert, Pfc. Christopher Barrows, Pfc. Claude Clevenger and Pfc. Clay Collins for facilitating the peaceful conclusion to a standoff involving a heavily armed subject involved in a domestic dispute; Sgt. John Hastings, for his apprehension of an armed burglar; Sgt. Jason Stoddard, Pfc. Larry Blake, Pfc. Juan Morales, Pfc. James Thompson and officer Rodney Horrocks for facilitating the peaceful conclusion to a standoff involving an armed subject involved in a domestic dispute; Pfc. Jesse Garner, Pfc. Karl Newman and officer Christopher Curtis for placing themselves in harm’s way to warn citizens to stay indoors during the investigation of a shooting at a neighboring home in which the gunman was still believed to be inside; and Cpl. Jason Hopkins, for entering a lake without hesitation or safety equipment in an attempt to save a man who had fallen into the water.
Lifesaving awards, whose recipients provided CPR or other life-saving actions to victims of medical emergencies or suicide attempts, were presented to corrections officer first class Evin Flowers, corrections officer first class Martin Letren, corrections officer first class Jonathan Martin, officer Christopher Morris, Pfc. Leonard Sershen, Pfc. Michael Sokoloff, Cpl. Matthew Thompson, corrections officer first class John Arcadipane, corrections officer first class Jonathan Palmer, Pfc. Travis Yates and Assistant Chief Ben Jenkins.
Sheriff’s awards were presented to Cpl. Ryan Ross, for his dedication to the Corrections Division; Cpl. Joseph Piazza, Pfc. Eric Baker, Pfc. Cheyann Gilroy, Pfc. Ryan Johnson, Pfc. Leonard Sershen and officer Charles Gregory for their initiative, dedication and success in reducing crime as part of a recently formed Neighborhood Enforcement Team and to Cpl. Christopher Strafella and Pfc. Jonathan Kelly for their success in reducing crime after taking initiative to dispose of garbage at a bike path in their patrol area where people had been drinking alcohol and using drugs.
Certificates of commendation were presented to Sgt. Paul Gregory and Pfc. Jonathan Kelly for their apprehension of subjects who had been concealing a BB gun that appeared to be a real gun and who had been acting suspiciously in the area of a residence where violent crimes had occurred; Cpl. Joseph Murphy, for his thorough investigation and apprehension of subjects who had been shooting citizens with a BB gun; Cpl. Tony Oliver and Jeff Merchant, who provided aid to a citizen whose truck had caught fire; and corrections officer first class Melissa Hug and corrections officer first class Kathleen Rackey who, in separate instances, found contraband carefully hidden on inmates’ persons when they were processed into the county jail.
Personnel who retired in 2012 were also honored at the banquet for their dedicated service to the sheriff’s office and to Charles County citizens: Lt. Col. Joseph C. Montminy Jr., 30 years; Capt. DuWayne Gaddy, 30 years; M. Sgt. Dale Overstreet, 33 years; Sgt. David Hamrick, 31 years; M. Sgt. Sharon Carter, 26 years; Cpl. Kevin Wilson, 22 years; and Betsy Leonhard, 11 years.
Michelle Sigona, a national television crime correspondent, served as the ceremony’s keynote speaker.
Coffey also addressed the award recipients, retirees and guests prior to presenting the awards and retirement statues.
Local musicians Randy Runyon and Tim Bodamer performed the national anthem. Retired Capt. William Saunders was the master of ceremonies, and police communications supervisor Mindy Millar read the descriptions of the acts performed by the award recipients as the awards were presented.