The Thomaston-Upson Rotary Club honored five public safety employees at their annual Public Safety Appreciation Luncheon last week. Public Safety Award Winners were Brian Hammock of the Thomaston Police Department, Kody Kennedy of the Upson County Sheriff’s Department, Major C. Eddie Grier of the Georgia State Patrol, Craig Stubbs of the Upson Regional Emergency Medical Services, and Lieutenant Jeremy Walker of the Thomaston Fire Department.
Rotary President Sue Mangum welcomed the public safety officers to the luncheon, and Rotarians Tom Jackson and Debra Daniel presented the awards. Jackson said the Rotary Club looks forward to this luncheon every year.
“We hire you, train you, house you, and hopefully never see you again,” Jackson said jokingly. “But I remember when we didn’t have professionalism in the job,” he added. “If you wanted to be a Sheriff’s deputy, you just went in and started. That has changed for the better today, and all of our public safety employees are trained professionals on the job.”
Thomaston Police Chief Dan Greathouse introduced the Officer of the Year, Agent Brian Hammock. Greathouse said Hammock joined the department in 2005 and was a patrolman and a member of the narcotics task force. In 2008 Hammock became the department’s representative on the DEA’s Middle District Office of Investigations. In 2011, Hammock coordinated a multi-county methamphetamine investigation and raids, with 73 people arrested and 13 indicted on federal drug charges.
Upson County Chief Deputy Dan Kilgore introduced the Deputy of the Year, Kody Kennedy. He said Kennedy joined the department as a jailer in 2006, and two years later earned his certification and became a patrol office. Kennedy is a native of Upson County and Kilgore said he approaches people well and knows how to talk to them. In 2011, Kennedy was honored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for making 26 DUI arrests. Kilgore said they can always count on Kennedy to get the job done.
Kennedy thanked Rotary for the honor and said Kilgore and Sheriff Don Peacock make working at the Sheriff’s Department easy and keep it a family-oriented environment.
Georgia State Patrol Colonel Mark McDonough, accompanied by Lieutenant Colonel Russell Powell, introduced the Trooper of the Year, Major C. Eddie Grief. Col. McDonough noted that Grier stayed past his planned retirement to work as the Commanding Officer for Field Operations for the State Patrol. Grier is in charge of all 40 posts, the specialized units, and more than 800 troopers. McDonough said Grier believes in people with the heart of a father.
Grier noted he started as a deputy with the Upson County Sheriff’s Department in 1978, went from there to the GBI, and then to the State Patrol. He said he went a lot further than his original dream, which was to be a corporal in Post 26 in Thomaston. He said good people come from small towns like Thomaston and that law enforcement officers go back to the values received from their parents, that of knowing right from wrong.
Thomaston Fire Chief Eddie Lifsey introduced the Fire Fighter of the Year, Lieutenant Jeremy Walker. He said Walker started in 1993 and became a lieutenant in the department in 2005. Lifsey said when Captain Harris was injured a year ago, Walker stepped up and not only led his shift, but also took on the role of fire safety inspector. He said you will never find a negative word said about Walker in the department.
Walker said while the award may be for an individual, it takes more than one to do the job, and thanked his wife and the department. He said Thomaston fire fighters are fire fighters every day of the week and serve with dignity and professionalism.
Craig Stubbs, the Medic of the Year for the Upson Regional Emergency Medical Services, was unable to attend the luncheon. Tom Jackson said he could speak from personal experience that Stubbs and the rest of the EMS are courteous and well-trained.