8th Annual Peace Officer & Public Safety Awards
The Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce sponsored the 8th Annual Peace Officer & Public Safety Award Luncheon on Tuesday, November 23rd. Karen Devine and Tom Jordan from KMIR TV6 participated as the Master’s of Ceremony at the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort & Spa. The Honorary Chairman for this year’s awards was Assistant Adjutant General-Brigadier General John Alexander-California National Guard. The luncheon drew many dignitaries from the Coachella Valley including from Senator Jim Battin’s office, Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia was present as well as Assemblyman John Benoit and City Manager of Palm Desert Carlos Ortega.
Ray Rodriguez served as the Planning Committee Chairman.
Over thirty individuals and service programs were selected to be honored at the ceremony for their contributions to law enforcement and fire department services. The following is a list of recipients: Supervisor Sandra Hatfield, Reserve officer Les Vacarello, Reserve officer Guy Gulickson, Volunteer of the Year Joe Fleischman, Volunteer Program Desert Sheriff’s Search & Rescue, Firefighter II Scott Mason, Service to Youth Group Award-American Red Cross Youth Group, Outstanding Community Service Program Valley Crime Stoppers, Citizen of the Year-Fire Safety Manny Ontiveros, Citizen of the Year-Fire Safety Explorer Captain Lawrence Ponce, Citizen of the Year-Law Enforcement Neal Jarrett, Citizen of the Year-Law Enforcement Chuck Vasquez, Outstanding Performance for Specialized Duties Officers Craig Wright & Mike Fox California Highway Patrol Air Operations, Outstanding Performance for Specialized Duties Investigator Henry Preston, Narcotics Enforcement-Team Member Award Officers Kelly Fieux and Sean Zelka, Outstanding Canine Team Sergeant Mike Duffy, K-9 “Bak”, All Around Excellence-Fire Service Kevin Powell, All Around Excellence-Law Enforcement Diane Gines, All Around Excellence-Law Enforcement Michael Van Gorder, Significant Cases of Incident Worked-Law Enforcement Steve Williams, Significant Cases of Incident Worked-Fire Service Paramedic Jason Fairfax, Paramedic Chris Johns, Paramedic Mike Anderson, Medal of Valor-Law Enforcement Officer Gustavo Araiza. Photo: Chuck Vasquez of Cathedral City receiving the Citizen of the Year Award for Law Enforcement with newly officially confirmed Cathedral City Mayor Kathy De Rosa This represents Chuck’s second Award.