Sheriff commends dozens of deputies for service

It's how he conducts himself and his deputies on the isolated West End that caused Sgt. Brian King to be named Employee of the Year in the Clallam County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Bill Benedict awarded King with the 2008 title during a Feb. 21 annual awards banquet at the Fraternal Order of Eagles Auxiliary in Port Angeles.

Benedict and his commanding staff also gave dozens of awards and commendations to those in his department and the community who demonstrated bravery under fire, exemplary service and a high degree of excellence in their duties.

"All of the 2008 awards and nominations to those awards were well-thought-out and each individual truly deserves this recognition, if not more," said Clallam County Undersheriff Ron Peregrin.

"This county would not be the same without their service."

Only one award was not given out at the ceremony - the Medal of Valor award.

"That award went to Deputy Matthew Murphy and Deputy Andrew Wagner last year because we wanted to give them respect for their service immediately and not wait for the banquet," Peregrin said.

Murphy and Wagner shot and killed then-suspected murderer Shawn Roe after he drew a firearm on them in Blyn on Sept. 20. Roe had killed a U.S. Forest Service officer and a Sequim resident earlier the same day.

Other officers from the

Sequim area to receive awards were Deputies Mark Millet and Kenneth Oien, who shared Merit Awards with Deputy David Ellefson, retired, and Sgt. Grant Lightfoot.

"The Merit Award is a bit like the Meritorious Service Award, where the officer has risen above the command of duty and reflected excellence in their job in doing so," Peregrin said. "But the Merit Award is given to those that did this task with an element of personal danger involved."

Oien reportedly confronted a suspect with a large knife in a domestic violence case, chased him down when he ran and deployed a Taser when the man turned to challenge deputies with the knife.

Millet reportedly helped talk down a despondent man who was threatening his own life and those around him with a .45 caliber handgun.

The department's command staff gave Meritorious Service awards to 18 individuals from the Sheriff's Office as well as the Olympic National Park, Washington State Patrol, the Clallam County Correctional Facility, Clallam County Department of Community Development, the local stress management team and Clallam County Fire District 3.

The sheriff personally gave the Sheriff's Star Medal to retired Sgt. Dave Lenahan, Port Angeles, Police Sgt. Glen Roggenbuck, State Patrol Lt. Kenneth Noland, Chief Criminal Deputy Ron Cameron and Deputy Michael Dick, of the east end.

The Sheriff's Star comes directly from the sheriff, whereas all other award recipients are chosen by the department's command team.

The Life Saving Medal went to corrections officers Mark Raemer and Steven Brooks. The Purple Heart Medal was awarded to corrections officer Howard Blair.

Commendation awards, recognizing a job well done, went to several individuals from different agencies, including Sequim couple Randy and Tracy Kellas.

Randy is a Sequim Police officer and his award stems from his help in Millet's case. Tracy is the animal control officer for the county and she was awarded for her help in bringing the position back to full force at the county after years of outsourcing the work.

"One Commendation Award I want to highlight is to (Peninsula Communications) for all the work they do behind the scenes. They are the unseen heroes that back all of us up," said Peregrin of the county's 9-1-1 dispatch center.

"They handle a multitude of radio frequencies, telephone requests from officers, resource requests and general 9-1-1 dispatch needs."

The event wasn't only for law enforcement officers. Volunteers and citizens also were recognized, including Joan Craft and Dave Hull, who share the Volunteer of the Year Award.

Awards and awards

Meritorious Service Award recipients include:

• Judy Dawson, retired from county records

• Christine James, county administrative coordinator

• Bobby Cannon, county deputy

• Mel Kempf, county deputy

• Ralph Edgington, county deputy

• Nick Turner, county sergeant

• Mark Raemer, corrections officer

• Ron Sukert, jail superintendent

• Rich Sill, code officer

• Tony Hudson, county fire district captain

• Sylvia Orth, county records

• Mike Danisiewicz, Olympic Park

• Mark O'Neal, Olympic Park

• Kim Martin, county deputy

• Keith Nestor, state patrol

• Jack Iotte and George Church

• Danielle Patterson, stress management team

Commendation Award recipients include:

• Brian George, state patrol detective

• Gailin Hester, state patrol

• Randy Kellas, Sequim Police

• Josh Ley, county deputy

• Jef Boyd, county deputy

• Mark Millet, county deputy

• Todd Yarnes, county deputy

• Karl Koehler, county deputy

• Bill Cortani, county deputy

• Eric Munger, county deputy

• Michael Backes, county deputy

• Tracey Kellas, county animal control

• Kaylene Sawby Smith, county records

• Mike O'Connor, Peninsula Communications

• Tom Shumway, corrections staff

• Margaret Robertson Burris, corrections staff

• John Alexander, corrections staff

• Kathleen Traxinger, county technician

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