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Public safety officials throughout the county were recognized Saturday evening during the second annual Calvert County Council of the American Legion public safety awards banquet at Stallings-Williams Post 206 in Chesapeake Beach.

“The Calvert County Council of the American Legion did realize a need to honor and recognize our first responders, and that’s the reason we’re here tonight,” said Jack Custis, commander of American Legion Post 206. “We want to honor them and show them our deep appreciation for all that they do to protect us and our families.”

Keynote speaker Calvert County Commissioner Susan Shaw (R) said many young people were being honored at the awards banquet who “more than come through” in emergencies.

“We live in a time that politically is disheartening, where our country is very divided, but at the same time, when we look at again some of the people that are going to be honored this evening, we realize that there’s another side to the story,” Shaw said. “There’s a side that involves people who have very strong values, who are living those values and are going above and beyond for all the rest of us.”

As Custis read the names of the honorees, Calvert County American Legion Commander Jerrold Himmelfarb presented the awards for Deputy Sheriff of the Year to Cpl. J. Dean of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office; for Maryland State Police Trooper of the Year to Tfc. C. Esnes of the MSP Prince Frederick barrack; for Corrections Officer of the Year to Cfc. J. Windsor of the sheriff’s office; for Volunteer Firefighter of the Year to Kevin Miller of the Huntingtown Volunteer Fire Department; for Volunteer EMT of the Year to Timothy Bevard of the Huntingtown VFD; for Outstanding EMS Service Person of the Year to David Devere of the North Beach Volunteer Fire Department; and for Outstanding Fire Service Person of the Year to Phillip Ward of the North Beach VFD.

House Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell (R-Calvert, St. Mary’s) and Del. Mark N. Fisher (R-Calvert) presented each award recipient with an official citation from the Maryland General Assembly recognizing them for their superior dedication to county citizens.

Certificates of appreciation for service to the community were also presented to the MSP Prince Frederick barrack; the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office corrections division; the Prince Frederick Volunteer Rescue Squad; Calvert Advanced Life Support; the Calvert County Fire and Rescue Association; and the North Beach, Prince Frederick, Solomons, Dunkirk, Huntingtown and St. Leonard volunteer fire departments.

Custis said “brave and generous” first responders are often recognized by communities in times of tragedy. He said it should not take a tragedy for people to realize “how fortunate we are” to have dedicated men and women to keep people safe.

“Because of you, we know we are safe,” he said to the public safety officials. “On behalf of all of us, thank you for all your dedicated service. We’re deeply in your debt for all you do.”

kfitzpatrick@somdnews.com