Hinesville City Manager Billy Edwards called Friday’s employee recognition ceremony a way for city government to express appreciation for those who serve the city’s residents.
Then he said thank you.
“From me, thank you all for your professional attitude and your courteous way of going about the city’s business,” Edwards said, after more than 80 employees were recognized at city hall.
Among them were the 2016 police and fire department employees of the year, as well as the top employees in other departments.
Others were recognized for their years in service, and new employees also were introduced.
Edwards also read off the names of employees who retired in 2016, including that of longtime chief detective Maj. Thomas Cribbs, who died Feb. 20, less than year after his retirement.
Edwards had to struggle to keep his composure while announcing Cribbs’ name.
“I knew this was going to happen,” he said, pausing for a moment before resuming.
Other notable retirees included Sherry Strickland from the city’s administrative department and longtime assistant police chief Julian Hodges, along with police officers Nollie Bentley, Mike Shavers, Johnetta Reid and Thomas Ovitt.
Hinesville Mayor Allen Brown shook hands with all those recognized and told them theirs were often thankless jobs, but they should know they’re important.
“And you can always come talk to me and I’ll pump you back up,” Brown said.
Employees who were honored as the year’s best were chosen by their peers, but Hinesville Police Chief George Stagmeier said he wished he could honor every officer.
“The first thing I want to do is thank the men and women who work in the police department,” he said. “Every day they get up and put on that uniform and pin on that badge, and in this day and time it’s really, really tough to be a police officer. We appreciate every one of y’all and I wish every one of you could be recognized.”
Hinesville Police Department
Officer of the Year: Lt. William Oberlander
HPD Rookie of the Year: Kawanna Portee
HPD Civilian of the Year: Brittany Cook
Hinesville Fire Department Employee of the Year: Lt. Gene Long
City hall Employee of the Year: Shalee Dodd, customer service representative
Municipal court Employee of Year: Keith Abbott, probation officer
Community development department Employee of the Year: Kristin Bryant, Homeless Prevention Program
Inspections department Employee of the Year: Wincy Poon, GIS technician
Notable service awards by department (10 years or longer):
HPD: Iris Cadiz, records technician, 40 years; Lloyd Slater, lieutenant, 30; Glen Howard, corporal, 25 years; Eric Sink, corporal, 20; Victor Maldonado, corporal, 15; Frank Gallob, star corporal, 10; Joshua Heath, corporal, 10; David Guy, sergeant, 10; Dennis Poulsen, star corporal, 10; Ute Kurtz, crossing guard, 10; Jerry Britting, corporal, 10; James Williams, corporal, 10.
HFD: Gene Long, lieutenant, 20; Ernest McDuffie Sr., captain, 15; Jason Tompkins, engineer, 15; Mark Smith, engineer, 15; Alex Mason, engineer, 15; John Yesis, senior firefighter, 15; Robert Kitchings Jr., captain, 10; Hunter Gosseck, engineer, 10.
CDD: Donita Gaulden, assistant director of community development, 10.
See complete list at www.coastalcourier.com.