By Carra Higgins
Law enforcement members protect and serve their communities each day and Friday evening the Fraternal Order of Police Black Diamond Lodge 81 recognized eight men who had “distinguished service” in the last year.
Among those honored was West Virginia State Police Corporal R.A. Daniel, who not only received a Distinguished Service award, but was also named Officer of the Year.
After being named Officer of the Year, Daniel said he was “shocked” and thought there were other officers “more deserving” than himself.
“It takes a special person to put on a badge,” Daniel said. “It’s a great honor.”
The FOP Black Diamond Lodge describes the Officer of the Year as “An individual who has excelled in his law enforcement duties, been an active and respected member of his community, earned and maintained the respect of his peers and
fellow citizens and dedicated himself to strive for excellence in the quest to make his department and community a better place.”
Daniel received a plaque for his Distinguished Service, and a sculpted police officer statue as his Officer of the Year award, from FOP Black Diamond Lodge President Dean Capehart and U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va.
Also receiving recognition and plaques from Capehart and Rahall for their service were Sgt. Dean Bailey, Beckley Police Department; Steve Sturgill, Raleigh County Juvenile Probation Department; Senior Trooper Joseph Frye, West Virginia State Police; Lt. Kevin Hopkins, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office; Officer David Snuffer, Beckley Police Department; Deputy Raschard Cox, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office; and Mickey Sylvester, Division of Natural Resources Police.
For contributions to law enforcement and the local community, the Beckley Moose Lodge and Doug and Linda K. Epling received plaques. And, Captain Skee Barley of the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office was given recognition for his leadership, dedication and involvement in making law enforcement stronger.
Rahall addressed the event’s crowd, which included numerous law enforcement officers, State Sens. Mike Green and Daniel Hall, Raleigh County Commissioners Linda K. Epling and Dave Tolliver, Raleigh County Sheriff Steve Tanner, Raleigh County Prosecutor Kristen Keller and Circuit Court Judge Robert Burnside.
Rahall recognized and extended his gratitude to all law enforcement officials across the country who are “on the front lines of keeping communities safe.” He also recognized that if it weren’t for the preparation of law enforcement and first responders, many more lives could have been lost as a result of the bombings during the Boston Marathon earlier this week.
“We thank you ... each and every one of you,” Rahall said to the officers.
Rahall also remembered the efforts of slain Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum, who was shot and killed in his cruiser nearly two weeks ago while keeping an eye on a former “pill mill.”
Crime Stoppers received the proceeds from the event; and, Crime Stoppers President Butch Fink presented Lt. Paul Blume with a special thank you award from the organization.
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