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Department of Public Safety holds annual awards banquet at Surf Club

By Ruben Lowman

The North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety held their annual Awards and Promotional Ceremony dinner at the Surf Golf & Beach Club in Ocean Drive last Thursday night, March 24. 

Many awards were handed out during a night that has become very special for first responders and their families in the city, an evening where they can get together and share camaraderie, stories and fellowship. Also, there’s some great food served up too. 

The Sgt. Gordon Best Award was handed out for the first time this year, given out in honor of the late North Myrtle Beach police officer who lost his life last year while responding to a “shots fired” call. 

The award was dedicated to Sgt. Best in tribute to his commitment to valor, heroism and leadership, and the award’s winners will best exemplify those qualities within the force. 

The first recipient of the Sgt. Gordon Best Award was Firefighter Nathan Marker.

“That award was created last year and presented for the first time,” said Lance Cpl. Amy Vicks, Community Engagement Officer with the NMB Police Department. 

“Nate Marker is a firefighter administrator position and he is our Infectious Control Officer. He got the award for his commitment and dedication to keeping all city employees up to date on all CDC COVID-19 protocols and keeping track of COVID cases within city employees.”

In addition to the Sgt. Best Award being handed out for the first time, there were several other awards and honors given out to city first responders and employees of the Department of Public Safety complex on Second Avenue South in North Myrtle Beach. 

The other awards were as follows: Medal of Honor – Kevin Polich; Police Officer of the Year – Brandon Beaudoin; Firefighter of the Year – Derek DaPonte; Support Services Officer of the Year – Amy Vicks; and Detention/Dispatch Employee of the Year – Dawna Rosati. 

The ceremonial portion of the evening saw promotions, retirements and acknowledgments of special achievements for both employees of the city’s police department and the fire rescue department. 

Department of Public Safety personnel receiving promotions were: Police Lieutenant – Thomas Bruce; Fire Lieutenant – Kyle Sefick; Police Sergeant – Christopher King; Det/Comm Supervisor – Stephanie Shick; and Lead Jailer – Susan Wydra. 

Police Sergeant Ward Downey was honored for his retirement. 

In Special Achievement, receiving Master Patrol Officer were: Arthur Pease, Christopher Fitzwater, Michael Thrower and Jonathan Espanol. Receiving Fire Rescue Engineer: Derek DaPonte, Hayden Long, Darcie Shotts and Blake Todd.

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