Jackson County’s first responders in law enforcement, fire rescue and EMT services were honored Thursday with lunch catered by Jackson Hospital and sponsored by First Federal Bank, with organizational assistance from several community leaders.
The event was held at the Chipola College Public Service building.
The honorees were spared long speeches, with organizers saying they thought it made more sense to forego that, considering the fact that those heroes could be called away at any moment to save a life, put out a fire, or intervene in a criminal matter.
Instead, following a quick word of thanks, they went straight through the food line with plenty of time to socialize and eat. As their mealtime wound down, the party-givers handed out a few door prizes—one to the oldest first responder in service, one to the youngest, one to the team that traveled the longest distance to attend, and one to the individual with the most time in service.
That last went to Jackson County Sheriff Lou Roberts. He’s been in law enforcement here 41 years. Set to retire at the end of his term in 2020, the Thursday recognition will be one of his last moments in the spotlight as the county’s chief law enforcement officer.
The youngest in service gift went to 22-year-old Cindel Cobb, an EMT with Jackson County Fire Rescue. The oldest-in-service honors went to 70-year-old Vinny Altieri of the Compass Lake in the Hills Fire Department.
Tyler Scarborough, of the Marianna Police Department, was recognized as the first responder with the youngest child; he’s got an 18-month-old daughter.
A handful of Jackson County Fire Rescue team members who live in Tallahassee were collectively honored for traveling the most miles to attend the event.
The first responders serving Jackson County have faced perhaps their most challenging stretch of all time since Oct. 10, 2018. Many of them suffered personal property damage in that storm, yet carried on with extreme demands at work and sometimes put their own lives second in order to serve their communities, many in the community have acknowledged.