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Safety, health workers honored

May 10, 2003|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

Friday's public safety and health awards ceremony at Hagerstown Community College was no less important than the Academy Awards, keynote speaker George Brosnan said.

One similarity between the two awards programs is the actors "make believe they're you," Brosnan, the former deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, told the audience.

"But there is a difference," he said. "That difference is character."

Drunk-driving arrests and tabloid gossip are good publicity for Hollywood actors, but the opposite of what public safety figures represent, Brosnan said.

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The annual "Recognition of Excellence Awards" were sponsored by the HCC Administration of Justice Program.

Supervisors from local police departments, prisons, the Washington County Detention Center, Maugansville Goodwill Volunteer Fire Co. and the American Red Cross honored employees and volunteers for their hard work and achievement.

Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith spoke glowingly about Lt. Gary Spielman, who is nearing retirement after 26 years.

Smith said he was used to specialization when he worked for the Baltimore Police Department. Hagerstown's police work, though, calls for more flexibility.

Spielman, who received a lifetime achievement award, responds to shootings and murders at all hours, is an "unflappable" incident commander for barricade situations, supervises the fire police and brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars by "feeding the grant machine," Smith said.

Deputy 1st Class Jonathan Hose, who works at the Washington County Detention Center, is motivated, reliable and enthusiastic, Sheriff Charles E. Mades said.

James Kiracofe, a retired Roxbury Correctional Institution correctional officer, never took a day of sick leave in almost 40 years of state service, Warden Joseph Sacchet said.

At Maryland Correctional Training Center, Correctional Officer Earl R. Strine, by being alert, prevented a diabetic attack and thwarted a suicide attempt in the same week, Warden J. Michael Stouffer said.

As the only social worker at Maryland Correctional Institution, Diane Lewis handles 2,100 inmates and does the work "of at least three people," Chief of Security David Wade said.

Maugansville Fire Chief Phil Ridenour was given a surprise leadership award.

After speaking at length about Ridenour's merits, Presenter Jason Baer said, "We could stand here for another hour ..."

Ridenour smiled and vigorously shook his head "no."

"We are partners in community service ...," Patricia Schupple, deputy commissioner of the Maryland Division of Correction, said as the ceremony ended. "We certainly do appreciate deeply the jobs that you do."

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