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Midway honors first responders
1003 First responders
Midway Mayor Dr. Clemontine Washington, center, presents a certificate of appreciation to Officer Joaquin Cortes as Officer Matthew Ainsworth, right, and Officers Duvale Page, Russell Knox and Mark Rich, left, and Chief Kelli Morningstar look on Saturday during Midways First Responders Appreciation Day. - photo by Joe Parker Jr

Midway lauded police officers, firefighters, emergency-medical personnel and other public-safety workers Saturday during First Responders Appreciation Day.

State Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, spoke at the event held at Dorchester Academy. The legislator, who has represented Midway for 10 years, said first responders deserve respect and appreciation and should not be taken for granted.

“Appreciation can be simply the saying of ‘thank you,’” he said, adding that first responders and other emergency-service providers should be remembered when funds are being allocated.

Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes said that he and his department depend on the support of first responders. For example, he said, the sheriff drove to the scene of an emergency call near his home early Saturday morning, and even though he arrived quickly, a first responder already was on the scene.

“It takes all of us to protect our county — each and every one of us,” Sikes said.

Midway Mayor Dr. Clemontine Washington introduced two guests who know a bit about emergency services in Midway. Washington’s brother, Howard Freeman, was Midway's first certified police officer, and retired Midway Councilman Henry Stevens served as police commissioner.

Various representatives from Midway's police department, volunteer fire department, Liberty Regional Emergency Medical Service, the American Red Cross, the sheriff’s office and the Liberty County Emergency Management Agency accepted certificates of appreciation as the city honored “those who we call for major and minor emergencies,” the mayor said.

“It’s been a hard two years with no recognition coming to us, but we kept on doing our jobs, and we’re happy to be recognized today,” Midway Police Chief Kelli Morningstar said. “I love my job. My job is the community. The police are the community. We appreciate your support.”

Midway Police Officers Mark Rich, Duvale Page, Joaquin Cortes, Russell Knox and Matthew Ainsworth received certificates, as did municipal court clerk Donna Davis and assistant clerk Rebecca Wilson.

Midway Mayor Pro Tem Curtes Roberts chaired the First Responders Day committee.

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