POINT PLEASANT — “There’s no normal day … no routine call.”
These were the words spoken by Pastor Jonathan Pinson, the keynote speaker at this week’s Law Enforcement Appreciation Banquet conducted by the Point Pleasant Rotary Club. This was the fourth year for the event which provides a free meal for all local law enforcement officers and their families, a complimentary gift and recognizes the Officer of the Year.
Pinson, who has a law enforcement background and is also the chaplain for the Mason County Sheriff’s Department, took the audience “to church” and “to the academy” in his speech.
Pinson said in a time when people have opinions about everything and like to forget even more, it’s important to remember the trials of life because, “they develop you into the person you are today.” Of the many things to remember, Pinson said the truth was important because “truth is not relative.” He also said it’s easy for a person who has invested nothing in their country, flag and freedom, to “disrespect” those things.
In closing, Pinson asked officers to “remember your training” and “grow from it” to remain safe in an increasingly unsafe time.
Rotary President Bryan Stepp then presented the Officer of the Year Award. Nominations for this award are submitted to Rotary members via officers from across the county, with the winner receiving an award, as well as their name on a traveling plaque that will rest at their department for a full year. This year, the award went to Chief Deputy Dave Downing of the Mason County Sheriff’s Department. Stepp said deciding a winner was difficult with so many qualified candidates, but what made Downing’s nomination stand out was a quote from the anonymous person who nominated him: “Downing is the definition of the title law enforcement officer.”
Downing, who is typically a man of few words, was nearly speechless and caught off guard by the recognition, which included a standing ovation. However, he did joke that on Monday, a full-fledged investigation would be launched into how this all happened. He accepted his awards and a check for $500 from the Rotary Club, along with wife, Janet.
Also speaking were Rotarians Larry Jones and Mario Liberatore. Jones recognized sponsors and officers. Liberatore gave a history of Rotary, but got one of the biggest applause lines of the night when he remarked on looking around the room during the Pledge of Allegiance and seeing no one kneeling.
The Mason County Sheriff’s Department Honor Guard presented the colors. The event was held at the Trinity United Methodist Church community building and catered by The Wounded Goose.
Reach Beth Sergent at email@example.com or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.