Pilot Club salutes community leaders at 18th award ceremony

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Mother Teresa once said, &uot;To have lived one’s life and not serve others is not to have lived at all.&uot;

Well, as City Councilman Calvin Jones noted at the Pilot Club’s 18th annual awards on Monday night at the Elk’s Lodge, Suffolk is full of people who have lived to the fullest.

&uot;Those of you who are being honored tonight exemplify Mother Teresa’s philosophy,&uot; Jones said. &uot;You have demonstrated your concern for your neighbors through your extraordinary acts of caring and kindness.&uot;

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Nine individuals were given outstanding community honors, 13 organizations got community service contributions, and the Police Department, Elk’s Lodge, Lakeland High ROTC, Paul Holland and Brian Wolford were awarded appreciation certificates.

The driver of the crash/rescue truck at the Market Street station, Geary Rodgers, was named the firefighter of the year.

&uot;The criteria for (the award) include attitude, creativity, dedication to the city, generosity to others, professionalism and community service,&uot; said Suffolk Fire Chief Mark Outlaw. &uot;Geary excels in all of these.

&uot;During his tenure, Geary has given his all to better our department and the services we provide,&uot; Outlaw said. &uot;He has worked countless hours repairing or remodeling the stations around the city. His skills and craftsmanship has saved the citizens of Suffolk many thousands of dollars. Through his personality, Geary portrays a positive attitude toward everyone. Through his professionalism, he stands willing to provide assistance to those in need.&uot;

An eight-year veteran of the police department, John Lane got Officer of the Year.

&uot;I’ve seen him grow personally and professionalism,&uot; said Police Chief William Freeman. &uot;He has a natural ability to detect criminal activity in the city. He is truly a blessing to this community and a blessing to this department.&uot;

Judy Shuck of the Nansemond-Suffolk Rescue Squad received the Emergency Medical Technician of the Year award. Corey Damon was recognized as

Explorer of the Year (a Boy Scouts program). Carol Avenson was Volunteer Literacy Council Tutor of the Year; and Ann Chisman, the Outstanding Com-munity Professional. Christine Bradshaw was the top School Bus Driver of Children with Disabilities, while Erma Burnside-Hall was named the best teacher of disabled students and Ruth Thompson, their finest teaching assistant.

Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, Suffolk Literacy Council, the Community Services Board, Camp Bruce McCoy, Lifeline, Nansemond-Suffolk Rescue, Project Lifesaver, Crime Line, Shelter for the Homeless, Genieve Shelter, Alzheimer’s Association and the Rockin’ Relay for Life were given contributions of $200 each.

&uot;Suffolk is a great place to live, work and play,&uot; Jones said. &uot;It has that small community feeling where people greet you with a smile and a ‘How are you?’ It’s a community where neighbors help neighbors. It’s a community that allows you to become involved. It’s a community we can all be proud of. It’s a community that cares.&uot;