FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 11, 2022
(Douglas County, Ore.) – Douglas County Commissioners Tim Freeman, Chris Boice and Tom Kress celebrated several of our public safety individuals and agencies today at the weekly business meeting by issuing proclamations honoring National Police Week, National EMS Week, National Search & Rescue Week, and National Correctional Officer and Employee Appreciation Week.
“From law enforcement to emergency medical to search & rescue to our correctional officers, we have the immense pleasure to get to see you doing your work in real time and it is incredible. It is also amazing to see how integrated all the different first responders are in our County. You really do perform selfless acts, whether you are a volunteer or a paid employee, there is an absolute desire amongst all of you to help others. My fellow board members and I are extremely honored to recognize you all today!” – Commissioner Tim Freeman.
National Police Week: It was 60 years ago in May that Congress and the President of the United States designated May 15 as Peace Officers' Memorial Day, and the week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week. Peace Officers' Memorial Day (May 15, 2022) pays special tribute to our law enforcement officers who have lost their lives while in the line of duty while standing up for the safety and protection of others. National Police Week (May 11-17, 2022) is dedicated to honoring members of our law enforcement community in Douglas County, who unceasingly provide a vital public service and play an essential role in safeguarding the rights and freedoms of the citizens of Douglas County. The Commissioners presented National Police Week proclamation certificates to Douglas County Sheriff’s Office - Sheriff John Hanlin, Undersheriff Jeff Frieze, Lieutenant Brad O’Dell, Lieutenant Jerry Tilley, Lieutenant Mike Root, Sergeant Doane Turner, Corporal Shawn Penland, Deputy Larissa May, Deputy Geoff Kirkendall, Deputy Kim Root, Sergeant Nick Heuberger and Corporal Kelly Dwight; Cow Creek Tribal Police Department – Officer Gregg Kennerly and Officer Dave Awbrey; Roseburg Police Department - Chief Gary Klopfenstein; Roseburg VA Police Department – Chief Timothy Plunkett, Public Affairs Specialist Nikol Hansen and Emergency Manager John Phillips; Myrtle Creek Police Department – Chief Johnathan Brewster and Sutherlin Police Department – Chief Troy Mills. They also honored and thanked the Winston, Reedsport and Oregon State Police Departments.
“I know that the community of first responders in Douglas County work together like no other that I have seen. I am extremely proud of the first responders represented here today, and know that I would put this group of individuals up against any other group of first responders across this country,” commented Sheriff John Hanlin.
National EMS Week: 2022 marks the 47th annual observance of National EMS Week (May 15-21, 2022). In 1974, President Gerald Ford authorized Emergency Medical Services Week to celebrate EMS practitioners and the important work they do in our nation's communities. Emergency medical service professionals play a vital role in public service by safeguarding the health, safety and well-being of the nearly 20,000 cities, towns and villages across the United States. The Commissioners presented National EMS Week proclamation certificates to Douglas County Fire District 2 – Battalion Chief Scott Richardson, Training Officer Nick Wecks, Lieutenant Justin Anspach and Engineer Nick Bacigalupo; Umpqua Valley Ambulance – Operations Manager Thomas Krokoski and Clinical Manager Rodney Blake; Glendale Ambulance District – Andy Owens, Sr. and REACH Air Medical Service – Paramedic Sam Lillie and Flight Nurse Francesca Sullivan. They also thanked North Douglas County Fire & EMS, Winston-Dillard Fire District, MetroWest, Bay Cities Ambulance, FireMed Ambulance and Mercy Flights professionals that also help to provide EMS services in Douglas County.
National Search & Rescue Week: First observed in May of 2010, National Search & Rescue Week (May 16-22, 2022) was established when the United States Senate passed a resolution and designated May 16–22 each year to honor our nation’s Search and Rescue personnel and volunteers. Search and rescue organizations are composed of mainly volunteer experts in search and rescue and disaster response. They come from a wide range of skilled backgrounds, including pilots, mountaineers, divers, urban technicians, dog handlers, backcountry horsemen, snowmobilers and ATVers. The Commissioners presented National Search & Rescue Week proclamation certificates to Douglas County Sheriff’s Office – Lieutenant Brad O’Dell and SAR Deputy Larissa May; Douglas County Search & Rescue Volunteers -
Lisa Sulffridge, Linda Coffel, Merry Bayly, Milton Bernheisel, Rachel White, Jen Riesen, Dick Shanahan, Holly O’Dell, Dennis Morehouse, Joel Lemke, Steve Schaefer, Mark Scott, Rachel White, Virgle Osborne, Michael Nadey, Camren May, Kelly Peter, Doris O’Hara, Valerie Vititow, Brenda Bryant, Lonnie Williams and Douglas County Search & Rescue K9 Team members – Belle, Duke, Sturm, Hank, Riddle and Raven.
“One of the things I think is important for the public to know is that our Search & Rescue volunteers are not just people with four wheel drives or dogs, they are a group of highly trained and highly dedicated individuals that have stepped up and work very hard to do this critical life-saving work,” stated Commissioner Boice.
National Correctional Officer and Employee Appreciation Week: On May 5, 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed proclamation 5187 creating National Correctional Officer and Employee Appreciation Week. President Reagan’s proclamation designated the first week of May each year for this recognition, and stated that “we recognize that the important work done by our correctional officers often does not receive the recognition from the public that it deserves, and it is appropriate that we honor the many contributions and accomplishments of these men and women who are a vital component of the field of corrections”. The Commissioners presented National Correctional Officer and Employee Appreciation Week proclamation certificates to Douglas County Sheriff’s Office - Sheriff John Hanlin, Undersheriff, Jeff Frieze; Douglas County Sheriff’s Office – Corrections Division - Lieutenant Mike Root, Sergeant Doane Turner, Corporal Shawn Penland, Deputy Geoff Kirkendall, Deputy Kim Root, Sergeant Nick Heuberger and Corporal Kelly Dwight.
A copy of the live video presentation can be found on the Douglas County Government Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/DouglasCountyeGovernment.
Media Contact: Tamara Howell, Douglas County Emergency Communications & Community Engagement Specialist, Douglas County Public Affairs Office | Office: (541) 957-4896 | Cell: (541) 670-2804 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Proclamations and Photo Collages Attached. Individual photos are available upon request)
Douglas County Community Unity Campaign
The story behind the series of proclamations since 2021 to help raise community morale. The Douglas County Board of Commissioners, Tim Freeman, Chris Boice and Tom Kress recognized that the pandemic traumatized our country, state and county on so many levels in 2020, 2021 and 2022. The impact was not only felt physically, but also mentally, emotionally and financially. They saw evidence that this trauma had resulted in severe anxiety, anger, frustration, isolation, depression and loneliness amongst our residents. It had clearly divided and separated our community. They saw far too many residents that were experiencing difficulty, and those that were focused on negativity. The Commissioners knew that there was a desperate need to bring positive energy back to our County in order to reconnect, refocus and reengage our citizens, and to reenergize that incredible sense of community unity that we are known for.
The Commissioners collectively decided to start this series of proclamations, and have dedicated themselves to bringing back the ‘good energy’. They plan to continue to highlight the amazing work being done by local individuals and organizations in Douglas County in order to encourage our residents to do the same. The incredible stories being told during our proclamation events shine a huge spotlight on the amazing work that continues to be done by dedicated individuals and organizations, even when they were working in the isolated shadows of the pandemic. It is no secret that many organizations have struggled to stay relevant, disseminate information, engage our community or raise funds in the past two years due to the pandemic. We hope to change that cycle and focus on what really matters, our people.
In 2022, the Commissioners have issued 18 proclamations and honored over 600 Douglas County individuals as a part of our Community Unity Campaign. They hope you will join them in supporting, thanking and perhaps volunteering to help these wonderful individuals and organizations, so we can come together to rekindle and restore our sense of community, our faith in others and the joy that makes Douglas County the best place to live, work and play.