POINT PLEASANT — “Service above self” is what Rotarians live by, making them a perfect partner to law enforcement.
On Thursday, the Point Pleasant Rotary Club presented its third annual Mason County Law Enforcement Appreciation Banquet and Officer of the Year Award.
The banquet provided all law enforcement officers and their families with a “thank you” from the community and a free dinner at the Trinity Church Christian Community Center.
The keynote speaker was Jim Mitchell, the Academy Staff Wellness Officer and director of chaplaincy for the West Virginia State Police. Mitchell spoke about someone writing Author William Faulker for his “best word” at the height of his career, seeing as it was estimated each word he wrote was said to be worth $10. Mitchell said Faulker wrote back to the person in a letter with the word, “Thanks.”
“Thank you for what you do and the sacrifices you make,” Mitchell told officers.
He talked about officers being a light in the world and how “society is full of wolves,” though some in society refuse to believe those “wolves” exist.
“We know the reality of evil and darkness because we’ve experienced it,” Mitchell said. “We live to confront the wolf and protect the flock.”
Mitchell told officers what they do is more than job, that it was a “calling” and that the ultimate success of police officers was determined by the communities they service.
In the more recent past, the news has been full of attacks and even murders of police officers. He spoke about the bond between officers, even those who have never met.
“I will stand until I retire or until I fall, and if I fall, you continue because you do it for our brothers and sisters,” Mitchell said.
Rotary President Richard Walker then presented the Officer of the Year Award. Walker said there were four nominations this year with candidates who made it a tough decision. It was announced Sgt. Forrest Terry of the Mason County Sheriff’s Department was the Officer of the Year. Walker said Terry, who is a night supervisor, was nominated by two of his officers who said he put the safety of his officers as his “number one concern.” Terry also maintains the popular Mason Deputies Facebook page which updates the public on news and investigations. Terry accepted his award with his wife Sandra by his side. Terry’s name will go on a plaque with the names of previous winners Cpt. Carl Peterson of the Mason County Sheriff’s Department and Sr. Trooper S.C. Allen of the West Virginia State Police. The plaque stays at the home agency of the Office of the Year until the next banquet.
Also speaking was Rotarian Mario Liberatore and Rotarian Larry Jones. Rotarian Tim Martin was also recognized for his efforts in starting the event. The banquet, which also provided special equipment bags for the officers, was also made possible by a host of sponsors from throughout Mason County.
Reach Beth Sergent at [email protected] or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.