By BRAD KELLAR
Two of Hunt County’s finest have been recognized by the Greenville Kiwanis Club for going the extra mile in service to the community.
The club presented its annual awards program during a luncheon ceremony Aug. 27 at Buffet Palace in Greenville.
Kiwanis member Dan Perkins presided over the event, which has been conducted since 1988.
“This is really my favorite thing, of all the things we do on a regular basis,” Perkins said, adding the event serves to thank, “those who day in and day out sacrifice for us.”
The group honored the Hunt County Sheriff’s Deputy and Greenville Firefighter of the Year. The Police Officer Of The Year will be recognized at a later date.
“These are the people who really are on the front line of protecting us every day,” Perkins said.
Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks presented Baret Sanders as the Deputy Of The Year.
Meeks said Sanders started with the Wolfe City Fire Department before becoming a jailer and corrections officer with Hunt County. Sanders has served Hunt County for six years and has been involved in “catching several meth labs in action.”
Meeks said he recently received a letter from a Hunt County resident whose wife fell while walking across State Highway 224. Sanders came upon the scene, assisted the woman across the road and then walked her home. The letter writer said Sanders returned to the residence the next day.
“He said (Sanders) was concerned and just wanted to see how his wife was doing,” Meeks said. “He went above and beyond his duty.”
Greenville Deputy Fire Chief Jeremy Powell nominated Jake Papageorgiou as the Greenville Firefighter Of The Year, “because of his willingness and how he cares about the department.”
Powell said Papageorgiou has been with the fire department for 14 years and holds “just about” every certification available from the Texas Commission on Fire Protection.
The department recently determined it needed someone to fill a “Fire Inspector” position, which would require six months of additional training.
“Jake volunteered to do this on his own time,” Powell said. “He actually asked to do it.”
Papageorgiou is also known for wanting to take extra time in dealing and talking with elderly individuals who contact the department, either on emergency calls or for other issues.
Powell said Papageorgiou often approaches his fellow firefighters about offering assistance.
“He says, ‘I know we have a problem here, how can we take care of them,’” Powell said. “I wish everybody was that way.”
The honorees’ names are inscribed on plaques which rest on the walls of their respective offices.