Wednesday, November 25, 2009
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EMA announces top 2 annual award recipients

  • Volunteer of the year -- Glen Bonaparte

  • Shroyer Lifetime Achievement -- Sheriff Steve Nichols

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[November 25, 2009]  Logan County Emergency Management director Dan Fulscher announced the agency's top two award recipients during this month's Logan County Board adjourned meeting.

Joining Fulscher in the recognitions were law enforcement committee chairman Rick Aylesworth and board chairman Terry Carlton.

Volunteer of the year -- Glen Bonaparte

Following a tradition in which last year's volunteer of the year gives the award to the recipient for the current year, Ed Houchins was on hand to present to Glen Bonaparte.

Fulscher said that Bonaparte has been volunteering with EMA for the last 10 years. Bonaparte has provided service in communications equipment and support and has gone to the field with the mobile command unit multiple times each year.

If you passed the unit when it was out at the airport during the balloon fest, you may have seen him there.

It has been an unusually busy period in Logan County for emergency events and situations this year -- really in the last few years.

After introducing Bonaparte as this year's recipient for the annual award, Fulscher said, looking at Bonaparte: "And, what a year we've had! Right?"

"Yes," Bonaparte responded, and he continued to agree as each successive event was named.

Fulscher continued: "This year, though, we've had a tornado, spent a time in the little town of Beason, we've had storms, a water rescue." And that has just been in the last few months. The winter and spring brought numerous instances of high wind, heavy rain, flooding and ice storms that created emergency needs; and there was an event downtown in July that called for a significant amount of security and communications assistance.

Fulscher said that Bonaparte was there anytime he was called, and in one instance when Lawndale had a situation, Bonaparte called Fulscher first to say he was on the way. Fulscher highlighted Bonaparte's biggest gifts as "great communications, keeping equipment in working order, some rewiring."

It was raining the night of the award, and as Fulscher looked at Bonaparte, he didn't have to say it, because Bonaparte already knew it, either by experience or by intuition; but Fulscher said it anyway: "Just to let you know, tomorrow you're going to be working again."

Bonaparte chuckled and acknowledged he'd be ready.

Aylesworth congratulated Bonaparte with a handshake and presented him with his award.

Normally, Bonaparte quietly works behind the scenes, helping others to talk. But on this momentous occasion he chose to speak. Standing before a packed room of county board members, peers, guests and visitors, he didn't mince words. In a strong, clear voice he responded: "Well, I say support 911 and your Logan County EMA because we're here for Logan County. We're here to help you! And if you call us, we're there!"

Larry Shroyer Lifetime Achievement Award

Before announcing the other award honoree, Fulscher added a personal note that showed how far back their fellowship went. With fondness he said: "I owe a lot to this guy because, I'm going to tell you, when we were in junior high together he used to beat me so bad in basketball, I decided it was time to go into wrestling."

Side note: During the 2008 state wrestling championships Fulscher was honored by the Illinois High School Association as a lifelong wresting official and named a grand marshal.

Sheriff Steve Nichols received the Shroyer award for this year.

Fulscher recalled sitting with Nichols before Logan Dispatch Center was created. "Nichols' vision and direction have been such a support in making what we have today come true," he said.

Nichols' work and support were instrumental in the passage of the 911 surcharge and safety tax, along with the upgrading of Logan Dispatch, the communications center and radio system.

A brief biography of Nichols' professional development

1966-1970 -- Lived at the Logan County Jail while his dad was sheriff -- first taste of law enforcement.

1974-1976 -- Attended Lincoln Land Community College; received an associate degree in law enforcement administration; played baseball and basketball both years.

1976-1978 -- Attended Western Illinois University; received bachelor's degree in law enforcement administration.

1979-1986 -- Employed by Illinois State Police.

1987-1989 -- Employed by South Dakota Highway Patrol.

1989-2002 -- Employed by Illinois Department of Children and Family Services: 12 years as an investigator, two years in training.

2002 to present -- Logan County sheriff, ETSB/911 board member.

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Carlton presented the award, saying: "What we know you more for is your diligence providing safety to the citizens of Logan County. This year has just been a pivotal spot in your career as county sheriff for Logan County. From my perspective, you've just done a stellar job, always been there -- determined, professional."

Accepting the award, Nichols said that he had had enough of the bright lights in the last 45 days to last a lifetime, and he shifted the praise to entities and individuals supporting the work that he does.

"It's not about me," he said. "It's about everybody in this room. I can talk about the paramedics -- in the last few months they've helped out the sheriff's department immensely; 911, Mark Mann and dispatchers; all the EMA; all the volunteers, Ron (Shawgo), Devin (Vannoy), Glen (Bonaparte), (all in communications support); everybody. Where I've been, they've been."

"It's a team effort," he emphasized. "When I need something from Dan, he's there; my staff, it's the same thing."

Illustrating the strength of cooperation, he recalled a couple of recent occasions when it was necessary to take over a property. "Not one time did anyone say, ‘Why are we doing this?' It's been, ‘How can we help?' And that's what Logan County is about in terms of EMA, 911 and law enforcement," he said. "And I'm proud to be sheriff. Thank you!"

About the Larry Shroyer Lifetime Achievement Award

This award was started in 2000 in honor of the former Civil Defense director who moved Civil Defense into ESDA, which is now EMA. He dedicated his whole life to helping others, and he could see ahead for decades, even centuries. His plans 40 years ago make him like the Walt Disney of emergency management, according to Fulscher.

Fulscher said Shroyer was the backbone of the design for the current safety complex. He negotiated local, state and federal funding to develop the lower level of the safety complex.

The safety complex at 911 Pekin St. houses the Logan County Sheriff's Department, Lincoln Police Department, the county jail, EMA offices, 911 dispatch, the radio communications center and the emergency operations center.

Past recipients of the Shroyer Lifetime Achievement Award:

  • 2000 -- Carl Faith, Glenn Mason

  • 2001 -- Gene Bathe, Everett Kennett

  • 2002 -- Doug Dutz, Roger Leesman

  • 2003 -- Ernest Jeckel, Warren Wendlandt

  • 2004 -- Stan Anderson, Mark Mann

  • 2005 -- Jim Hubrich, Robert "Bucky" Washam Jr.

  • 2006 -- Dianne Ruff, Norma Bathe

  • 2007 -- Mike Patridge, Steve Siltman

  • 2008 -- Stuart Erlenbush, Dick Logan


Fulscher said he would announce additional annual recognitions and awards at an upcoming event.

The Logan County EMA works with law enforcement agencies, fire departments, paramedics, health officials, the National Weather Service and other agencies to provide protection for citizens' health and safety. They assist first responders during emergency and disaster situations, and in larger events facilitate the coordination between multiple jurisdictions, community leaders and agencies. They are ready to enable and enlist resources as needed.

While the agency has only three full-time and one part-time staff in the local office, they are aided by hundreds of volunteers each year.

Most noted for coordination and on-site support services in communication, security and other assistance as needed, the agency also provides land and water search and rescue operations, training opportunities, cross-agency integrated exercises, and other services.


EMA award pictures

Some of the events that local first responders and volunteers have assisted Logan County citizens with just since July of this year:


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