Police officers, firefighters, correctional officers and military service members are the typical award recipients at the BPO Elks Lodge 778’s Law & Safety Day, but those people took time Sunday to honor two civilian women.
Both women, who asked to remain anonymous, were involved in the Sept. 26, 2011, carjacking that ended at My Bank! First United Bank & Trust at 980 Foxcroft Ave. One was the victim who was pulled from the car by officers and the other was called a “guardian angel” for relaying substantial information to 911.
Martinsburg City Police Chief Kevin Miller thanked the woman who shared information.
“A lot of times, people will see a crime and think, ‘Well, the police will catch up with them later.’ ... You saved her life,” Miller said.
The victim and the 911 caller, who both shed tears during the presentation, exchanged a hug. Holding a purple stuffed bear, the victim’s daughter beamed when her mother received recognition from those gathered for the annual Law & Safety Day.
The Elks Lodge’s exalted ruler, Nanci Hovermale, explained to those gathered why the club honors them each year.
“You make us feel a lot safer in this area,” she said. “You have definitely increased our quality of life.”
Award recipients were:
- Lt. Terry Stanley and Cpl. Adam Albaugh from the Martinsburg Police Department. Both officers were involved in resolving the carjacking.
- Cpl. J.M. Walker from West Virginia State Police in Berkeley County. Walker handled 78 investigations into financial crimes and a murder investigation in 2011.
- Senior Trooper Sam Smith from West Virginia State Police in Jefferson County. Smith joined the state police six years ago, and presenters said he has a mind-set of service.
- Cpl. A.T. Peer from West Virginia State Police in Morgan County.
- Cpl. Andrew Evans from the West Virginia State Police’s Eastern Panhandle Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force. Evans’ work in the past year resulted in indictments totaling 350 criminal counts on the state and federal level.
- Deputy Kevin Huffman from the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department. Described as a “go-to guy,” Huffman publicizes active warrants and serves on the special response team.
- Cpl. Benjamin S. Williams from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department. When not focusing his efforts on gangs and domestic violence, Williams works with the deputy reserves program.
- Deputy 1st Class Cliff Cobern from the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department. Cobern, who works with DARE and community outreach, participated in two murder investigations in 2011.
- Lt. John G. Holben from the Martinsburg Fire Department. Fire marshal for the City of Martinsburg and a 24-year veteran of the department, Holben enforces fire code and serves as a hazardous materials technician.
- Deputy U.S. Marshal Jon Laliberte from the U.S. Marshals Service. Laliberte coordinates investigations regarding registration requirements for convicted sex offenders. One of those investigations led to the first federal trial for failure to register.
- Cpl. Strider Ouimet from the Eastern Regional Jail of West Virginia. Ouimet is certified in defensive tactics and chemical agents.
- Correction Officer II Bernard Pearson from Martinsburg Correctional Center. Pearson volunteers for shifts, tells inmates what is required of them and promotes the center’s mission.
- Senior Patrolman Jonathan DeSarno from the Charles Town Police Department. DeSarno participates in drug investigations and was commended for his work ethic.
- Airman 1st Class Dustin Norris from the 167th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia Air National Guard. Norris, a security policeman, guards the facilities that serve 1,200 people and $60 million worth of assets, not including aircraft.
- Communications Officer Robert D. Buckley from the Veterans Affairs Police Service. Buckley participates in leadership programs, learned operational capabilities and technical aspects of the surveillance system, and works emergency exercises.
- Firefighter Martin D. Roberts from the Berkeley County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Roberts excels in hazmat incidents and obtained water-rescue equipment for the department.