On Saturday, Jan. 26, the San Manuel Elks Lodge honored many of our first responders with an awards banquet. This annual event pays tribute to those fire men, paramedics, police officers and emergency responders that save lives and protect our community.
Awards were presented to the outstanding first responders for their work in serving the Tri-Community. Representatives from DPS, Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, Oracle Fire Department, San Manuel Fire Department, Mammoth Volunteer Fire Department and Tri-City Med were in attendance with family and friends.
After a great meal, Elks Exalted Ruler Cathy Griffith spoke along with LD-8 Rep. Frank Pratt, DPS Captain Brian Preston, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, Justice of the Peace Arnold Estrada and, of course, the Master of Ceremonies Tom Miller.
All the speakers thanked the first responders for the work they do. Before introducing Sheriff Babeu, Tom announced that the Sheriff’s Office had donated $5,000 for the Elk’s Project Graduation.
Sheriff Babeu then told everyone that the new Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles had pledged another $5,000 for Project Graduation. Tom then said to “tell all the kids we are going to have the graduation party.”
Babeu praised the Project Graduation program and thanked the Elks for the project and the awards banquet. Since Project Graduation started, there has not been a fatality or serious accident involving San Manuel High School seniors on graduation night.
Here are the award recipients for this year’s outstanding first responders:
Oracle Fire Department – Paul Farrell
Department of Public Safety – Michael Hawkins
Mammoth Volunteer Fire Department – Shannon Dominguez
San Manuel Fire Department – Kyle Drake
Tri-City Med – Crystal Cox
Pinal County Sheriff’s Posse – Douglas Armstrong
Pinal County Sheriff’s Office – Sergeant Douglas Peoble
Pinal County Sheriff’s Office – Mark Foster
Elks Citizen of the Year – Jessee Walker