Pilots bestow honors

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 24, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

The mission of the Pilot Club of Suffolk is to reach out to others, no matter what the need in the community. The members also believe in rewarding others who do the same. On Monday night, they bestowed numerous plaques on servants of the community in their &uot;16th Annual Civic Awards Night.&uot;

The organization also gave monetary donations so that agencies providing services to the community can keep on giving to the people of Suffolk.

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&uot;The services they render make Suffolk a better city,&uot; said Pilot LaVerne Flythe. &uot;This is Pilot’s way of honoring those who serve, enriching the lives of others.&uot;

Monday night’s festivities took place at the Elks Lodge, and the chaplain of the Pilot Club of Suffolk, Jacque Edwards, provided the invocation, asking God to bless the work of the recipients of awards, and to give the nation’s leaders strength, faithfulness, and wisdom.

Suffolk Police Officer Mike Simpkins, a long-time friend of Pilot, sang Lee Greenwood’s &uot;Proud to be an American.&uot; Simpkins later sang &uot;Amazing Grace&uot; as the meeting closed.

Many Pilot members, including President Anna D’Antonio, President Elect Suzanne Langston and Governor Elect Jeanne Banks, presided over the meeting with Banks bringing greetings from the &uot;Virginia District.&uot; From the Suffolk Pilots, Leah Powell shared the &uot;Pilot Code of Ethics,&uot; a strict set of moral and professional principles.

They introduced many other Pilots, who in turn introduced members presenting awards.

Nancy Cisco and LaVerne Flythe served as mistresses of ceremonies and Pilot Leah Powell presented the Pilot Code of Ethics.

Pilot Shirley Eley presented awards to Public Education Specialist with the Suffolk Fire Department, Pam King, for her work with Lifeline; Brian Wolford for his dedicated help with the Pilot’s Queen’s Luncheon, Christmas &uot;Green Safety Tree&uot; and the Chorey Park Valentine’s Party. Ann Stallings presented awards to Police Officers Simpkins for &uot;Crime Line,&uot; and Junius &uot;Jay&uot; Jackson, John K. Cook; and Police Chief William A. Freeman also received awards for the dedicated work the department does to improve life in this city.

Sergeant Brandon Meyers of the Bennett’s Creek Rescue Squad and Robert &uot;Rusty&uot; Hundley, president of the Nansemond-Suffolk Rescue Squad, accepted the donations for their respective agencies from Frances Hatfield. Eley also noted the &uot;critical and priceless&uot; services of volunteers from both squads.

Other awards were presented to Project Lifesaver, the Genieve Shelter, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, the Suffolk Literacy Council, Camp Bruce McCoy, the Children’s Center, and Reading is Fundamental.

As for the awards for &uot;Outstanding Community Service,&uot; several people were honored with plaques for their dedication. Suffolk Firefighter Kimberly Marston of the Market Street Fire Station No. 1 was named &uot;Firefighter of the Year.&uot; Two people share the honor of &uot;Emergency Medical Technician of the Year.&uot; EMT Jeff Elmore was selected from the Nansemond-Suffolk Rescue Squad, and James Sessoms from the Bennett’s Creek Rescue Squad. Both were selected for their service.

Officer Lance Callis of the Suffolk Police Department was honored as &uot;Police Officer of the Year,&uot; and according to Chief Freeman, he’s not only compassionate but also respectful of everyone.

&uot;You can’t teach people to treat people with dignity and respect, and that’s what he does,&uot; said the police chief.

Sergeant Vernon Harris was named &uot;Explorer of the Year,&uot; named for his devotion to duty at the police department. The Explorer Post is a program for youths that gives them a hands-on opportunity to learn about law enforcement through their volunteer service.

&uot;I’ve seen Sgt. Harris so much around the office that I thought we’d hired him,&uot; said Chief Freeman. &uot;He is a very loyal young man, very active in church and he will be an asset to any company or school he chooses.&uot;

&uot;Volunteer Tutor of the Year&uot; Jennifer Bunn stole everyone’s heart as she accepted accolades for her devotion to the children she instructs.

&uot;It’s all about the little ones,&uot; she spoke softly from her wheelchair.

Suffolk Public Schools’ Christine Bradshaw now carries the distinction of &uot;School Bus Driver of Children with Disabilities.&uot; The &uot;Teacher’s Assistant of Children with Disabilities&uot; is Marie Scott, and Lori Brunson is &uot;Teacher of the Year for Children with Disabilities.&uot;

Pilot International was founded and chartered in 1921 as an international service organization.

Today, Pilot International has approximately 500 clubs and more than 25,000 adult and youth members.

Suffolk City Councilman Bobby Ralph noted that the Pilot Club of Suffolk Inc. was established in 1974, the same year the City of Suffolk was &uot;born.&uot;

Ralph also said the Pilot Club of Suffolk members work beyond the call of duty when they would probably rather be at home with their families.

&uot;You will be richly rewarded and I congratulate you tonight for the work you do,&uot; said Ralph. &uot;Volunteers like you enrich the lives of many others and the City of Suffolk is all the better for your being here.&uot;

One more group was received honorable mention at Civic Awards Night. The &uot;Co-Pilots,&uot; or husbands of the Pilot members, were asked to stand to be recognizes for sharing their loved one with the community they serve.