Police, fire personnel are honored

February 09, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Thirteen police and fire personnel, who represent "some of the hardest-working people in the Eastern Panhandle," were recognized Sunday during the 10th annual Law and Safety Day in Martinsburg.

The awards banquet was held at Elks Lodge No. 778 to recognize police officers and fire officials who showed outstanding service to their communities.

The speaker was U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.

Bringing attention to the types of crimes police must face, Capito expressed shock over last week's kidnapping and killing of an 11-year-old girl in Florida, and praised local police for their willingness to be on the "front line" to protect their communities.


"Those are not easy jobs," Capito said.

A large number of police and fire officials have been honored at the event over the years, including last year's recognition of R.J. "Bobby" Elswick and Scott E. Paugh, two West Virginia State Police troopers who were seriously injured in separate incidents in 2002.

Elswick was shot in the head while answering a domestic call in Hedgesville, W.Va., and Paugh was seriously injured when his cruiser was struck by another car on Golf Course Road.

David Eugene Munday was charged in the shooting of Elswick, and there was reference during Sunday's banquet to the life sentence that was handed down to Munday last week.

Although doctors initially feared Elswick would die from his injuries, he continues to recover from the shooting.

Those honored Sunday included:

  • Laura Allen was one of three office assistants for the West Virginia State Police who were described as the "unsung heroes" of the state police. Allen, who works in the Jefferson County state police detachment, has more than 30 years of service and is the "backbone of the department," said 1st Sgt. Deke Walker.

  • Brenda Neff is an office assistant at the state police detachment in Martinsburg. Neff takes special interest in the cases worked by the local troopers and helps the officers prepare their reports when the troopers present their cases to grand juries.

  • Elsie Coleman is an office assistant at the state police detachment in Berkeley Springs, W.Va. Due to limited manpower in the Berkeley Springs detachment, Coleman often finds herself heavily involved in the daily workings of the police department, Walker said.

  • Victor C. Lupis III, a Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputy, was recognized for his lifesaving efforts and good conduct. Among his accomplishments, Lupis was recognized for successfully performing the Heimlich maneuver on a man who was choking at Charles Town Races & Slots.

  • William D. Christian, a Berkeley County Sheriff's Deputy, was recognized in several areas, including his work on the department's special response team and his ability to secure a $10,000 grant for it.

  • Tony Link, a Morgan County Sheriff's Deputy, was recognized for having the most drunken-driving arrests last year.

  • George Manning, a Charles Town Police Department patrolman, was recognized for helping his department experience a 150 percent increase in drunken-driving arrests.

  • Scott F. Funkhouser, a Martinsburg Police Department patrolman, is known for his thorough investigations, whether the case is a destruction of property or a homicide.

  • Kenneth E. White Jr., a Shepherdstown (W.Va.) Police Department patrolman, writes an average of 12 traffic citations a day. White also is a full-time Department of Natural Resources officer.

  • Craig Pearrell, a Bath Police Department patrolman, was honored for reviving a woman through CPR after she overdosed on heroin and was found unconscious near a convenience store in Berkeley Springs.

  • Gregory D. Hoover, a member of the Martinsburg Fire Department, was honored for his arson investigation skills and training in hazardous materials incidents.

  • Robert Wise was described as a "class act" in his 29 years of service with the Hedgesville Volunteer Fire Co. Wise, who was on the committee that set up the 911 system in the county, also has served as ambulance chief for the department.

  • Charles B. Sisson, a member of the local Elks Lodge, was recognized for his work in firefighting and as a paramedic.
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