SIDNEY — Sidney Fire Chief Brad Jones and Police Chief Will Balling present the firefighter and police officer of the year to the Sidney Rotary Club during the club’s regular meeting, June 4.
According to Jones, each year the Department of Fire and Emergency Services recognizes an individual for outstanding performance. The Firefighter of the Year is nominated by his peers and evaluated by a committee of those peers.
Firefighter Michael Utz has been chosen this year. He has been with the department for more than 16 years. He is a certified paramedic and is currently a member of the rope and water rescue teams, as well as a member of the honor guard. He is certified in CPR, pediatric advanced life support and advanced cardiac life support, and he is a continuing education instructor.
Utz received the Firefighter’s Commendation award in July 2015 for his actions and lifesaving efforts of a river rescue for an event on the Great Miami River.
Balling said that this is a great time to recognize people who make a difference in the community. He said he loves Sidney’s police department and is very proud of all the police officers, the dispatchers and everyone who works in the department. They make his job so much easier, he said.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week that follows Police Officer week. The Sidney police department traditionally selects an officer of the year in connection with that week. This award is selected by the staff who see this individual on a daily basis. This year, Officer Mark Brunson was selected as the Police Officer of the Year. He has been with the Sidney Police Department since Dec. 3, 2012. He is currently a filtrating officer, an evidence technician, a bike patrol officer and a TRT member. In 2017, he led the department in arrests and was second in citations issued. In 2016, he led the department in arrests, OVI arrests, instant reports taken and calls handled. He has developed into one of the leaders in drug detection. Brunson, Balling said, initiates the vast majority of his activities, maintains a positive attitude with the public and his peers and is always willing to volunteer when an assignment or a shift needs to be filled. Brunson displays the department’s core values of professionalism, integrity, courage, compassion every day.
Zach White and Lauren Brubaker were introduced as two of four scholarship winners this year.
Brubaker is a graduate of Houston High School. She had a 4.0 grade point average and was first in her class. Some of her extracurricular activities were Spanish Circle president, Environmental Club vice president, National Honor Society secretary, Student Council treasurer, class president, yearbook staff co-editor and Shelby County Fair Board. She plans to attend the Ohio State University to study interior design.
White is a graduate of Anna High School. He had a 4.0 grade point average and was first in his class. Some of his extracurricular activities were Future Farmers of America assistant treasurer and vice-president, varsity baseball captain, Academia team captain, Student Council, National Honor Society and Students against Destructive Decisions.
Megan Frazier from Russia High School and Mary Jo Meyer from Upper Valley Career Center were also Rotary scholarship winners but could not attend Monday’s meeting.