May 06, 2021 Streaming Online
Welcome Mason Dixon, Q105 and Erica Riggins, Bay News 9 Honor Guard Members of Hillsborough County First Responder Agencies Invocation Pastor Ken Whitten, Idlewild 2020 Our Heroes Presentation 2021 Coy L. Sykes Scholarship Recipients Presentation John Sykes, Founder, SYKES and Emeritus Chairman of the Board and Chuck Sykes, President and CEO, SYKES 2021 Our Heroes Presentation Congratulations - Chuck Sykes, President and CEO, SYKES and John Sykes, Founder, SYKES and Emeritus Chairman of the Board Closing Mason Dixon, Q105 and Erica Riggins, Bay News 9
Thanks to Our Honor Guard Honoring Our Fallen Heroes Sheriff Chad Chronister - Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Chief Brian Dugan - Tampa Police Department Bag Piper: Beth Baucom - Tampa International Airport Police Department Justin Baxter - Tampa Fire Rescue Corporal Jerell Blenman - Temple Terrace Police Department David Burton – Temple Terrace Fire Department Rodney Davis - Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Heather Donahue –Tampa Police Department Pete Dziubinski - Hillsborough County Fire Rescue John Footman - Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Kirsner Garcon - Tampa International Airport Police Department Dennis Hobbs – Florida Highway Patrol Chet Holden – Tampa Police Department Detective Stefanie Huertas - Temple Terrace Police Department Eric Janes – Plant City Fire Rescue Jerome Mancillas - Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Edward Ortiz - Tampa Fire Rescue Kerwin Stokes - Tampa Fire Rescue Ashley Unger - University of South Florida Police Shawnice Wiggins – Plant City Police Department
Thank You to Those Who Helped Make This Year’s Luncheon Special! DCE Productions
Laurie Hayes - City of Temple Terrace
Susan and John Sykes
Investigator Daniel Jones - Tampa International Airport Police Department
SYKES Marketing and Communications Team
Lieutenant Jason Thomas
Tampa International Airport Police Department
Jason Penny - Tampa Fire Rescue 4
Pastor Ken Whitten
Their badgeWeofare courage. Our heartfelt thanks. honored to continue our support of Law Enforcement, Firefighters and other Emergency Response Personnel of Hillsborough County for their unwavering dedication to making our lives and our community better. Thank you, to you and your family, for your courage and sacrifice.
SUSAN & JOHN SYKES
The business of SYKES is about the commitment to serving others. That’s why we’re proud to recognize the men and women of Hillsborough County’s law enforcement and fire rescue.
Thanks to Our Sponsors Commissioner
Susan & John Sykes Lieutenant ®
Thank You to Our Committee Support Per. Chief Todd Alt - Tampa Fire Rescue Crystal Clark - Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Jacob Carlisle - Temple Terrace Police Department Audrey Clarke – Public Information, University of South Florida Police Department Phyllis Corr - SYKES Sergeant Andrea Fleet - Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Marty King – University of South Florida Police Department Trace Kingham – Reimagined Experiences Vivian Mcilrath, Public Education Specialist – Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Operations Chief Scott Murley - Temple Terrace Fire Department Lydia Pizarro - Tampa Police Department Capt. Kristina Quenneville – Florida Highway Patrol Alicia Strahan - Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office - Community Outreach Division Lynn Thacker - SYKES Lieutenant Jason Thomas - Tampa International Airport Police Department Chief Barbara Tripp - Tampa Fire Rescue Honorable Samantha Ward - 13th Judicial Circuit Thank you to our retiring committee members! Enjoy your new adventures! Officer Clem Fiol - Plant City Police Department Deputy Chief Vince Kiffner - Plant City Fire Rescue Captain Meg Ross – University of South Florida Police Department Captain Ann Walters – Tampa International Airport Police Department
Our 2021 Heroes Fire Rescue Tampa Fire Rescue Captain David Hohenthaner Captain David Hohenthaner is a 22-year veteran with Tampa Fire Rescue. He was awarded a Medal of Valor for assisting the SWAT team with extracting a violent person from an apartment fire. His quick actions led to the safe removal of this individual. In addition, while he was off duty at a holiday event, an employee at a corporate party collapsed. Within seconds, he found the person’s heart stopped. He was calm, communicated with the others, and immediately provided CPR. Because of his actions, the individual fully recovered. Captain Hohenthaner also helps produce the annual TFR Awards Banquet videos. The level of recognition he creates locally and nationally for the department is unparalleled. His “Tampa Fire Rescue New Recruit” video won an International Gold Award, and the “One Team One Fight Explosive Awareness” video was used to prepare law enforcement prior to the 2012 RNC. Captain Hohenthaner developed and presented a new FAA standards course, training the newly assigned District and Division Chiefs. The successful transition of the ARFF Division chain of command is a result of his commitment. Captain Hohenthaner is also passionate about his charitable work with the Leigh Dittman Foundation, Shriners Hospital, Give Kids the World Foundation, Metropolitan Ministries, Feeding Tampa Bay, Paint Your Heart Out, and Laxer Family Foundation. He has two sons, Dylan and Jace. His oldest is following his footsteps as a Firefighter for Plant City Fire Rescue, while his youngest studies at Northern Illinois University and is the football team’s kicker.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Driver Engineer Nicolette Hughes Hillsborough County Fire Rescue’s Lieutenant Nicolette Hughes is this year’s Nancy Lee McKay Lifesaver of the Year. On April 17, 2019, TR5, E5, and R5 responded to a structure fire. This was a working fire with construction issues. The fire had progressed into a void between two roofs. Truck Captain Scott Vittoe had tried to cut holes in the roof for access. The roof became unstable, so the Truck set up for an elevated master stream with Cpt. Vittoe in the bucket. While up in the bucket, Cpt. Vittoe started experiencing chest pain. When Cpt. Vittoe came down, the chest pain had progressed, and he went straight to Rescue 5 where Lt. Nicolette Hughes was running rehab. She recognized at once that Cpt. Vittoe was experiencing a medical emergency. She jumped into action to perform an EKG and found he was having a major heart attack. If not for Lt. Hughes’ quick reaction, Cpt. Vittoe would have had a much graver outcome. Lt. Hughes not only transported extremely fast but she also aggressively treated Cpt. Vittoe with the cyanokit for possible smoke inhalation. The ER Doctor said Lt. Hughes saved Cpt. Vittoe’s life. Her bravery, quick thinking, and resourcefulness make her an incredible asset to the Fire Rescue.
Our 2021 Heroes Fire Rescue Temple Terrace Fire Department Firefighter Xavier Miranda Firefighter Xavier Miranda began working for the City of Temple Terrace Fire Department in June of 2016. In a very short time, he established himself as one of the department’s most dependable and hardest working firefighters. The past year brought a relentless pace of Covid-related responses, precautionary protocols, and stress. Despite these challenges, he has continued to be a positive and upbeat presence on his shift and within the department. Firefighter Miranda simply goes above and beyond expectations as part of his day-to-day routine. He has become an example of what Temple Terrace Fire Department strives to be for its community. Xavier has been married to his wonderful wife Kisha for 3.5 years and has a beautiful four-month-old son Elijah.
Plant City Fire Rescue Justin Stokes Since joining Plant City Fire Rescue in 2015, Justin Stokes consistently demonstrates the importance of a positive, unselfish attitude with fellow firefighters and citizens of the community. He always puts others first. He encourages both new and seasoned employees by taking time to guide new firefighters and review skills with existing ones. This year, Justin saw the need and the vision of the department and applied to become a Field Training Officer (FTO) to guide new paramedic trainees within the department. Justin went through the required process and achieved the role of FTO. He was eager to teach others while continuing to grow himself. He went above and beyond during the paramedic intern process. He not only taught his paramedic trainee, but he also trained all members of his crew to ensure everyone was knowledgeable in required Emergency Medical Services (EMS) skills. Justin’s dedication, hard work, and professionalism resulted in the addition of a full-capacity firefighter paramedic within Plant City Fire Rescue. This has improved the department’s overall Advanced Life Support (ALS) care capabilities. Justin is a highly respected member of Plant City Fire Rescue. His efforts have earned him the honor of being named this year’s Firefighter of the Year.
Our 2021 Heroes Law Enforcement Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Reserve II Deputy Angrus Bryant Reserve II Deputy Angrus T. Bryant was sworn in with the Reserve II Unit of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in 2018. In May 2020, Angrus was called upon to assist his fellow deputies during an incident of civil unrest in Tampa. Despite being put on the frontlines of a very hectic and sometimes volatile situation, Angrus remained calm, collected, and resolved to protecting the rights and freedoms of all present. At times, pockets of agitators became violent and caused destruction. Despite only having served as a Reserve Deputy for a short period of time, Angrus performed admirably during those tumultuous periods. While some may have reconsidered volunteering due to those conditions, Angrus was even further motivated to help his community. He subsequently increased his dedication to the Reserve II Unit. Angrus displays a level of passion for serving and protecting the community that distinguishes him from others. He regularly volunteers a great deal of his time working with sworn deputies at parades, fairs, festivals, and in uniform patrol. In 2020, Angrus dedicated 399 hours of his free time to the community by volunteering at the Sheriff’s Office. Angrus is married to his loving wife, Natalie. They have been married for eight years and have two daughters, Alexa and Alena.
Temple Terrace Police Department Officer Jonah Daniel Since his assignment to the Temple Terrace Police Department on May 28th, 2019, Officer Jonah Daniel has exemplified the organizations core values of Courage, Honor and Commitment. Ofc Daniel has consistently demonstrated exemplary performance in all areas of his chosen law enforcement profession, consistently working to improve his organization and the community that he serves. Coming from a law enforcement family; his father is Chief Chris Daniel from the University of South Florida Police Department, Officer Daniel has proven himself to be a consistent, pro-active officer who is highly self-motivated and routinely leads his assigned squad in proactive law enforcement measures. He is a natural born leader who does not shy away from driving his squad-mates to perform at their best. In June of 2020 Ofc Daniel clearly displayed his desire to serve the citizens of our city when he actively prevented a suicidal subject from overdosing on prescription pain medication, physically restraining the individual until medical assistance could respond. During the Winter Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign (December 18th 2020 to January 1st, 2021) Ofc Daniel had the most traffic stops of any officer, completing the traffic enforcement wave with 60 traffic stops. Due to these actions, and many others Ofc Daniel was able to distinguish himself well beyond the normal expectations of a Temple Terrace Police Officer and was thus nominated by his peers to receive our originations Officer of the Year Award.
Our 2021 Heroes Law Enforcement Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Detention Deputy Cheryl Henderson Deputy Cheryl Henderson began her career with Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in 2017. She is a prominent member of the Department of Detention Services (DDS) and has worked in several areas including confinement housing, general population, and the medical unit. Deputy Henderson is a Fire, Safety, Sanitation Officer, responsible for inspecting the facility and notating deficiencies to correct. As a Field Training Deputy, she uses her experience to develop newer deputies. She is a true professional and leader who always looks for ways to improve herself, her peers, and DDS. While working in the Information Services Division (ISD), Deputy Henderson had an idea to transform daily paperwork and costly printing into an electronic process. The Post-Takeover Checklist is a form used to account for a post’s equipment and specific duties. This essential form is used daily by sworn and civilian staff. The initial implementation had a few setbacks, but Deputy Henderson worked tirelessly to overcome them and set the groundwork for future e-forms. When not working, Deputy Henderson enjoys golf, training for triathlons, and CrossFit.
Tampa Police Department Juan A. Hernandez Officer Juan Hernandez has been a member of the Tampa Police Department since 2011. As a Field Training Officer in District II, he not only trains new recruits, but ensures that every call is investigated in its entirety. Through his unwavering pursuit of offenders, he made several big arrests in March 2020. While investigating a commercial burglary, Officer Hernandez located video surveillance. Due to the follow-up investigation, the suspect’s vehicle tag and identity were confirmed. The following day, Officer Hernandez observed the burglary suspect walking on foot. He coordinated with his squad members and K9 to take the suspect into custody without incident. He interviewed the suspect who provided a post-Miranda confession with the location of the stolen property. Officer Hernandez also investigated a strong-arm robbery where two suspects robbed the victim for his bag. Officer Hernandez and Officer Traynham located the robbery suspect and took him into custody without incident. Officer Hernandez conducted a post-Miranda interview, determined the identity of the second suspect, and then took the second suspect into custody. In recognition of his exemplary work as an investigator and Field Training Officer, Officer Juan Hernandez is Tampa Police Department’s Officer of the Year.
Tampa Police Department Reserve Officer Russell Marcotrigiano Reserve Officer Russell Marcotrigiano is a training specialist assigned to the Training Unit. In addition to his regular duties, he also serves as the Reserve Force Coordinator. He volunteers countless hours at special events, and his dedication serves as an example to others. He has served as a lead trainer for the force, coordinating annual courses throughout the year and recruiting qualified Reserve Force candidates to increase their overall manpower. He has also streamlined Reserve activities and accountability through the VIMS computer-based hourly tracking and sign-up system. R.O. Marcotrigiano has dedicated hours of his own time to handle inquiries, messages, complaints, scheduling, and other issues related to the Reserves. His vast experience has allowed him to serve as a confidant and mentor to others. R.O. Marcotrigiano has been the adhesive holding the Reserve Force together. He is an irreplaceable, respected Reserve Officer and supervisor, which is why he is Tampa Police Department’s Reserve Officer of the Year.
Plant City Police Department Detective Tiffany Lindsey Detective Tiffany Lindsey joined the Plant City Police Department in January of 2006. She served in the Patrol Division and as a Criminal Investigation Unit Detective for the past 9 years. She handles sex offenses, crimes against children and elderly, missing children, internet crimes against children, and monitors sex offenders in the jurisdiction. She advocates for victims and families with DCFS, the Children’s Advocacy Center, and HCSO’s Child Protection Investigators. She also specializes as a Field Training Officer, General Techniques Instructor, and report-writing teacher for recruits. During the past year, Detective Lindsey has handled more than 120 investigations. Detective Lindsey is engaged to her fiancé, Paul Tester, and has one son, Barrett (18 years old). In her spare time, she enjoys traveling as well as fishing and lobstering in the Florida Keys. In our 26-year history, the Lindsey Family is the first to have TWO simultaneous honors. Her son Barrett is one of this year’s scholarship winners.
Our 2021 Heroes Law Enforcement Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Detective Justin May Detective Justin May is assigned to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Division. His desire to protect citizens from heroin addiction has led to successful arrests of heroin and fentanyl dealers. His tech skills with cell and social media apps also distinguish him from his peers. Due to this, Detective May was asked to assist the Selective Operations Section with a human trafficking investigation spanning several jurisdictions. From January 27th - June 8th, 2020, a group of six individual traffickers was identified. The investigation successfully identified seven victims controlled by the traffickers. Due to the Selective Operations Section’s investigation with Detective May, all traffickers, two criminal gang members and four associates, were charged with human trafficking and RICO violations. Detective May deserves recognition for his passion, initiative, and work ethic to protect the community. In his free time, he enjoys fishing and spending time with his wife, Joy, and their children, Haydn and Hannah.
Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Aaron Mora Trooper Aaron Mora has served within the Florida Highway Patrol for the past five years. On September 21, 2020, Trooper Mora responded to a call of a driver on Interstate 4 that was reported to be driving recklessly. While en route, the call was updated to a single vehicle crash. Upon arrival, Trooper Mora saw a vehicle partially submerged in water in a ditch. Trooper Mora directed a citizen witness to the crash to help him. He saw the driver of the vehicle slumped over the steering wheel unresponsive. Trooper Mora made his way through the water and checked the driver’s vital signs. He determined the driver had no pulse and was not breathing. Trooper Mora and the witness extracted the driver from the vehicle, moved him to a flat area, and began CPR. EMS was requested, and while the witness continued CPR, Trooper Mora retrieved an AED from his patrol vehicle. Upon his return, the driver had a weak pulse and shallow breathing. The driver was placed in the recovery position until EMS arrived. Trooper Mora’s quick and decisive actions saved the life of the driver, who recovered from the event.
University of South Florida Police Department
Officer Dwight (DJ) Pollock Detective D.J. Pollock started working as a USF administrator in 2008 and became employed with the USF Police Department in 2016. As a criminal investigator, he successfully collaborates with all sections of the agency while developing investigative leads. He is always ready to lend a hand no matter the task. He pursues personal and professional goals with enthusiasm and a positive demeanor. Detective Pollock served in multiple assignments including Patrol, CORE, Investigations, and as a Field Training Officer and Agency Instructor. He’s also on the Recruitment Team. In addition, he assists through mutual aid assignments including the Marine Unit, Bicycle Response Team, and Mobile Field Force. Detective Pollock is a leader who goes above and beyond to help other members of the agency. Throughout his years at USF, he has always been willing to serve wherever and whenever needed, especially within the community. He was nominated by his peers as Officer of the Year for his outstanding service. His supervisors provided strong support and approval of his selection.
Tampa International Airport Police Department
Officer Jean Tremblay In 2014, Officer Tremblay joined the Tampa International Airport Police Department as a patrol officer. In 2020, he was chosen to serve on the $1.25 million Public Safety Software System Project to replace a 20-year-old system. It was critical that a champion step forward to take a personal interest in its success; Officer Tremblay was that person. His steadfast dedication was met with resounding reviews from peers, supervisors, and software vendors. Officer Tremblay’s templates streamlined reporting processes. He conducted training sessions for sworn members and continues to be a project administrator. Jean is a loving partner to fiancé, Kim, and devoted father to his two children, Bailey (6) and Jean III (2). Officer Tremblay has not only proven to be a conscientious and proactive Police Officer. He has also proven his dedication to his department and profession. For these reasons, Officer Tremblay is the 2021 Tampa International Airport Police Officer of the Year.
Our 2021 Fallen Heroes
Bravery is not the absence of fear, but action into the face of fear.
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Brian Roy LaVigne Sergeant Brian Roy LaVigne was killed in the line of duty on January 11, 2021, just one shift shy of retirement. While on patrol, Sgt. LaVigne quickly responded to assist fellow deputies in apprehending a suspect who was eluding them. He was struck by the suspect’s vehicle, causing fatal injuries. Sgt. LaVigne is celebrated for his distinguished, 33-year career serving and protecting the community. He began with the Largo Police Department before joining the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in 1990. He devoted his career to ensuring the public’s safety and was held in high regard at the Sheriff’s Office and in the community. Sgt. LaVigne served in several areas including Special Investigations, Community Outreach, Patrol, and as a school resource officer. Sgt. LaVigne, whose numerous colleagues included his daughter, Caitlin, mentored many deputies as a Field Training Officer. Many times decorated, Sgt. LaVigne’s honors include the 2017 Sheriff’s Office Life Saving Award, 2014 Outstanding Squad Award, 1992 Deputy of the Half, and numerous Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) recognitions for his efforts against drunk driving. Sgt. LaVigne was a man with a great sense of humor and many interests. He moved to Florida his sophomore year of high school, where he met his wife, Cathleen. The two went on to have two children, Caitlin and Erin Liam. His legacy lives on through the improvements he made to the community, in the way he influenced others to make a difference, and in all those whose lives he touched.
Tampa Police Department Master Police Officer Jesse Madsen Master Police Officer Jesse Madsen was killed in the early hours of March 9, 2021, when his police vehicle was struck by a driver headed the wrong way on Interstate 275. Just before 1 AM, Tampa Police began receiving calls about a vehicle driving southbound in the northbound lanes at a high rate of speed. Within one minute of the original call, the white sedan crashed into Officer Madsen’s police vehicle. The impact killed both Officer Madsen and the driver of the white sedan. He had moved his police vehicle into the path of the wrong-way driver to save the lives of others. Officer Madsen, 45, has a wife, a 16-year-old son, a 12-year-old son, and a 10-year-old daughter. He dedicated his life to the safety and service of others. He served as a United States Marine combat veteran, as a Police Officer in Lyndhorst, Ohio, and as a Police Officer in Shaker Heights, Ohio. For the past 16 and a half years, Officer Madsen served proudly as a Tampa Police Officer. He was a seven-time recipient of the Tampa Police Department’s Life-Saving Award. Jesse’s badge, number 507, will be retired, and his name will be etched for eternity into the Tampa Police Fallen Officers Memorial. He is the 32nd Tampa Police Officer to make the ultimate sacrifice, and will never be forgotten.
Our 2021 Scholarship Recipients Jordan Bridges Jordan Bridges is a senior at Tampa Catholic High School in Tampa, Florida. Jordan has challenged herself mentally, physically, and spiritually throughout her high school career by choosing a rigorous course load of Honors, AP, and Dual Enrollment classes. She will graduate with a 4.2 GPA. Jordan was a member of many school clubs. Her leadership positions included Vice President of National Science Honor Society. She enjoyed being part of the cheerleading team and was awarded State Runner Up in competitive cheerleading. Jordan also happily took on the difficult job of becoming goal keeper for the Lacrosse team in her senior year. Additionally, Jordan was committed to giving back to those in need by volunteering at Bakas Horses for handicapped, AHF Aids Clinic, and a mission trip to Tennessee. Jordan has been accepted at the University of South Florida where she plans to major in nursing. Her future goal is to become a Certified Nurse Anesthetist. Jordan is the daughter of Florida State Trooper Darren Bridges and wife, Jennifer.
Ember Eichholz Ember Eichholz will be graduating from Riverview High School with a 7.0 weighted GPA. She is the communications director of her theatre troupe, as well as a Florida Thespian. She has been an active volunteer at Girls With Confidence for more than 7 years. In addition to balancing school and theatre, Ember has also become a trainer at her job of almost two years at Tijuana Flats. She will be attending UCF as a business major. She is also planning to take courses in interior design. Ember is the daughter of Tampa Firefighter Captain Brian Eichholz and wife, Sherri.
Our 2021 Scholarship Recipients Olivia Giovenco Olivia will be graduating from Steinbrenner High School with a weighted 6.9 GPA, finishing in the top 3% of her class. She was the business manager and editor of her school yearbook program. She won multiple awards for photography and writing from the Florida Scholastic Press Association. Olivia completed more than 100 hours of community service at a local middle school as an assistant volleyball coach with the boys and girls volleyball teams. She was an active member of the National Honor Society and BETA. She was also the co-founder and co-president of the Independent Club her senior year, which focused on educating students about politics in a non-partisan way. Olivia is excited to attend the University of Florida to pursue an English major on a pre-law track. She then plans to go on to law school. Her dream is to work in either immigration or family law to help out the community.
Aaron Graham Riverview High School Senior, Aaron Graham, is in the top 19% of his class. He will graduate with a 3.3 unweighted GPA and a 5.2 weighted GPA. During the past four years, Aaron has taken a variety of Advanced Placement and Honors classes. He has been involved in many clubs, including Senior and Junior Steering, College Club, Thespians, and many more. Aaron is also a black belt in Taekwondo. Aaron gives back to his community by volunteering at places such as Feeding Tampa Bay and Home for Hope. He has been accepted to numerous schools to pursue a BFA in Musical Theater, but he has chosen to accept a full-tuition scholarship at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Aaron is the son of Officer Ronald Graham of the Tampa International Airport Police Department.
Barrett Lindsey Barrett Hall Lindsey is a Senior at Plant City High School. He will graduate with a 4.0 unweighted GPA and a 7.6 weighted GPA. Barrett embraced multiple Advance Placement and college Dual Enrollment courses during high school, earning 72 college credits. Barrett also performed 262 hours of community service. He enjoyed volunteering at South Florida Baptist Hospital and as a counselor-in-training for Camp Invention, a local Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) camp. Barrett participated in many clubs including FFA, HOSA, and Environmental Club. He was the Science Club Treasurer for two years. In his spare time, Barrett enjoys traveling, paddle boarding in Tampa Bay, fishing for Mahi Mahi, and diving for lobster every summer in The Keys with his family. Barrett plans to attend the University of South Florida’s Judy Genshaft Honors College to pursue a Bachelor’s in Chemistry and Master’s in Biotechnology. He would like to study the genetic modification of plants and animals for potential food sustainability and pharmaceutical applications. Barrett is the son of Special Agent Brett Lindsey with the Department of Homeland Security, Detective Tiffany Lindsey with the Plant City Police Department, and stepfather Corporal Paul Tester with the Plant City Police Department.
Brianna Martens Brianna Martens is a senior homeschool student who will graduate with a 4.0 unweighted GPA. Brianna challenged herself with a course load of Honors and accelerated classes. During her senior year, she was dually enrolled at Pasco-Hernando State College and Cedarville University. Brianna also participated in a recreational soccer league, coached a soccer team, traveled the United States and Europe, and maintained her job as a nanny. Brianna gives back to her community and has volunteered hundreds of hours at not-for-profit organizations such as Idlewild Baptist Church, Ronald McDonald House, Loft 181 Foster Closet, and Camp Anderson. Her family is licensed in foster care, and she is active in the care of numerous foster children that transition in and out of her home. Brianna is interested in anatomy and physiology and has the desire to study the prevention, treatment, and healing of sports-related injuries. She has been accepted at Cedarville University, where she plans to major in Allied Health/Sports Medicine. Brianna is the daughter of Sergeant Justin Martens of the Tampa Police Department and his wife, Cheryl.
Our 2021 Scholarship Recipients Tyler Matthews Tyler Matthews is a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School in Tampa. Thanks to a multitude of AP and Honors courses, he will be graduating with a 6.02 GPA. Along with a difficult schedule, Tyler has been an integral part of the Jefferson High School Marching Drumline. He has also participated in competitive martial arts since the age of 4. Tyler held leadership positions within these two programs. In addition to athletics, Tyler is involved as the Co-President of the Jefferson High School DECA and as an International Career Development Conference Qualifier. He’s a member of multiple honors societies including NHS, NTHS, NEHS, Mu Alpha Theta, and Tri-M Music Honor Society. Tyler is always there to help his martial arts family. He attends every Taekwondo tournament as a volunteer referee and coach. He also volunteers as an instructor and a tutor for younger students, including his 13-year-old brother. Tyler has been accepted to the University of Central Florida’s Top 10 Knights Program and will be double majoring in civil engineering and business. Tyler is the son of Tampa Police Department Master Patrol Officer, Daniel Matthews, and his wife, Susan.
Braden Raburn Braden Raburn is a senior at Strawberry Crest High School in Dover. He will graduate with a 7.127 GPA. Braden has challenged himself with a course load of Advanced Placement and Honors classes. From his freshman year on, he was dually enrolled at Hillsborough Community College. Braden dedicated his time to numerous school activities. He served as the FFA vice president and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ president. Braden was also a four-year varsity swim team member and served as team captain his junior and senior year. Braden is committed to giving back to those in his community. He has logged more than 119 hours of community service and is an active member of NHS and Beta. Braden has been accepted into the University of Tampa Honors College, where he plans to major in biochemistry. Braden is the son of Captain Edward Raburn and wife, Christie.
Our 2020 Heroes Fire Rescue Tampa Fire Rescue Driver Engineer Mike Billek Mike Billek began his career as a professional major league baseball pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. In 2008, he made a career change to follow in the firefighting footsteps of his father and grandfather. He dreamed that one day he would work alongside his hero, his father Captain Joe Billek. This dream became a reality in 2011 when the two spent a shift working together. At 49, Captain Joe Billek was diagnosed with Melanoma, which he ultimately succumbed to. The Captain Billek Foundation was created in his memory to raise money for cancer research while providing prevention education and services to the Tampa Bay Region. As a current board member, Mike served as the Golf Tournament Chairman, raising over $100,000 for the Melanoma Research Foundation. Driver Engineer Billek traveled to Tallahassee to adorn the steps of the Capitol with more than 400 sets of boots, representing a portion of Florida Fire Service members affected by cancer. Florida House and Senate members walked through the sobering display, which put a face to the Senate Bill 426. The media coverage helped pass the bill, giving cancer benefits to firefighters diagnosed with the 21 fire service-related cancers. Mike was instrumental in this campaign as he dedicated countless hours to provide information, research money, and overall acknowledgment of this deadly disease. The Foundation also partners with local PH Dermatology to provide free skin screenings to active personnel, retirees, and Tampa Fire Rescue family members. This life-saving service is a direct result of Mike’s perseverance and devotion to the cause.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Captain William Cobb Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Captain William Cobb began his career with HCFR in 1996. He was promoted to Driver Engineer in 2009 and to Captain in 2013. He is assigned to HCFR Station 3. On March 19, 2018, fire and rescue units from Station 3 were dispatched for a shooting with multiple patients. Upon arrival, Captain Cobb quickly realized the scene was still evolving with a working structure fire, at least two shooting victims, and the suspected shooter still active in the area. After Sheriff’s Deputies secured the scene, he assigned his Driver Engineer to assist with patient care. Despite having a short crew, they connected the apparatus to a hydrant, pulled the lines, and began an initial attack on the fire before additional crews arrived. Captain Cobb made command decisions at a very chaotic scene that positively affected the outcome of a pediatric trauma alert, protected his crew, and quickly extinguished a residential structure fire. For this and other exceptional service, Captain William Cobb was selected as the 2018 Chet Tharpe Firefighter of the Year. Captain Cobb has been married to his wife, Robin, for 22 years. They have three daughters, Savannah, Allison, and Meghan.
Our 2020 Heroes Fire Rescue Temple Terrace Fire Department Engineer Shannon Parker Engineer Shannon Parker started volunteering with the City of Temple Terrace Fire Department in 1989. He was hired full time in July of 2006 and promoted to Engineer in 2013. He continues to be a highly valued member of the department. He is one of a select few that has earned the opportunity to serve on the city’s only aerial apparatus. Ladder 2, which protects the north end of the city, maintains a vital role in the suppression, EMS, prevention, and education needs of the department. As departments across the county began to recognize the impact that cancer was having on its members, Engineer Parker took it upon himself to bring Ladder 2 into compliance with the clean cab initiative. Through a tremendous amount of his own time and effort, Engineer Parker oversaw every aspect from design to fabrication and installation. His ongoing sense of pride and ownership has made the department safer for all of its members. For his dedication, he was named Temple Terrace Fire Department’s 2019 Firefighter of the Year. Engineer Parker is engaged to be married to his fiancé, Lezlie, and is a loving father to his two sons, Cody and Caleb.
Plant City Fire Rescue Fire Medic Mario Soto Fire Medic Mario Soto joined Plant City Fire Rescue in August 2017 as a Firefighter. In October of 2018, he achieved the position of Fire Medic and has since shown exceptional abilities in patient care. On June 3, 2019, while having breakfast off-duty at a local restaurant, Fire Medic Mario Soto noticed another patron in the restaurant in distress. He immediately offered his assistance and performed an assessment. He found no pulse and only agonal breathing. Fire Medic Soto moved the patron to the floor and began CPR until Fire Rescue units arrived. Fire Medic Soto’s quick actions played a vital role in the return of spontaneous circulation and heart rhythm prior to the patron leaving the scene. No matter where he may be, Fire Medic Soto is always ready to jump into action to protect the community.
Our 2020 Heroes Law Enforcement Temple Terrace Police Department Officer Holly Burroughs Officer Holly Burroughs began her career with the Temple Terrace Police Department’s Patrol Division in November 2017. She exemplifies the police department’s model of Honor, Courage, and Commitment. She is a police officer who is dedicated to going above and beyond for the City of Temple Terrace and its citizens. Officer Burroughs is a natural-born leader, who drives her squadmates to perform at their best. This is a quality that cannot be taught but is one that is ingrained in the very essence of who she is. Officer Burroughs never shies away from taking younger officers under her wing and teaching them the right way. She always makes herself available to assist on a myriad of calls and never passes up an opportunity to further her Law Enforcement Education. Officer Burroughs has a servant’s heart and strives to help those in distress without hesitation. She recognizes the cultural diversity of our city and treats every person with respect and courtesy. Officer Burroughs resides with her longtime boyfriend Bobby. Officer Burroughs embodies and exemplifies every quality desired in a successful law enforcement officer.
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Detective Ryan Daniels Detective Ryan Daniels joined the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in January 2009. He is a vital asset to the Special Investigations Division. During the last year, his tireless work ethic and determination helped successfully combat prostitution and Human Trafficking crimes in the county. He has a deep desire to prevent Human Trafficking, identify victims, rescue them from their traffickers, and put the traffickers in jail. Detective Daniels has a vested partnership with the Selah Freedom Organization that specializes in providing services to victims of the sex industry. He routinely provides information to the staff on subjects in need of services and has them assist with his interviews to determine if the subjects can be helped. He has coordinated the emergency shelter of women who were in immediate need of Selah Freedom’s services. He truly goes above and beyond to identify and assist victims. In his free time, Detective Daniels enjoys skateboarding and spending time with his wife, Stephanie, and their three children, Turner, Tilly, and Trudy.
Our 2020 Heroes Law Enforcement Tampa International Airport Police Department Officer T. J. Donnelly Officer T. J. Donnelly moved to Florida in 1988 to begin his career in law enforcement. After retiring as a Sergeant with the Clearwater Police Department, Donnelly returned to law enforcement with the Tampa International Airport Police Department in 2017. In 2018, Officer Donnelly earned a position with the Tampa International Airport Police Department K-9 Unit. He was paired with his new K-9 partner Ikar, and the two enjoyed immediate success. Officer Donnelly and Ikar are a familiar duo at the Tampa International Airport. They are a proactive Special Investigations Unit team tasked with narcotics interdiction. Officer Donnelly and Ikar have been recognized as a valuable and trusted law enforcement asset. They are routinely called upon by U.S. Customs, Homeland Security, U. S. Coast Guard, and surrounding Tampa Bay Area law enforcement agencies. To date, Officer Donnelly and K-9 Ikar have deployed over 400 times to help seize illegal drugs, illicit currency, and firearms. Many illegal drug traffickers have been arrested because of their efforts. Officer Donnelly has not only proven to be a conscientious and proactive officer, but he has also proven his dedication and commitment to his department and profession. It is for these reasons, Officer Donnelly was named the 2020 Tampa International Airport Police Department Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. Officer Donnelly’s oldest son is a firefighter with Pasco County Fire Rescue, and his youngest son proudly serves as a Sergeant in the United States Army.
Plant City Police Department Detective Mark Dunnam Detective Mark Dunnam has been with the Plant City Police Department for 11 years. On April 25, 2019, Detective Dunnam was assigned a case wherein the victim reported that he had been held against his will, beaten, and forced to withdraw money from his bank account. In addition, it was learned that the suspects had stolen his vehicle. On June 10, 2019, Detective Dunnam was assigned another case and immediately recognized that it seemed eerily similar. Both victims spoke only Spanish, had come to the United States illegally, and were hesitant to come forward for fear of deportation. Detective Dunnam gained their trust and found out that their fate was far worse than originally reported. Detective Dunnam, was subsequently able to identify five individuals who were the perpetrators of these horrific crimes. Subsequent investigation determined that there were additional victims as well. Currently, all five suspects are incarcerated. Detective Dunnam showcases an exemplary level of compassion and is unbiased in his pursuit of justice. Detective Dunnam is married and has one son.
University of South Florida Police Department Officer David Hobson Officer David Hobson, a 2010 graduate of USF, joined the USF Police Department in 2014. He has served as a Field Training Officer, a Tactical Team member, and recently on a specialized Task Force. Officer David Hobson, is an individual who continuously aims to improve the agency. He is well respected in patrol for his professionalism and decision-making ability. He mentors and trains new officers and recently volunteered to revamp several Field Training documents. He is a leader on his squad and always works with the community in mind. He goes above and beyond to solve problems on a daily basis. Throughout his years at USF, he has always been willing to serve wherever and whenever needed, especially within the community. Officer Hobson was selected by his peers and subsequently approved by his supervisors to receive the honor of being named USF Police Department Officer of the Year for 2019.
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Reserve II Lieutenant Edwin M. Kurtzeborn Lt. Edwin M. Kurtzeborn is a Hillsborough County Reserve II Deputy who celebrated his 49th year of service in February 2020. Edwin’s journey of service in Hillsborough County has been filled with a lifetime of achievements. Edwin attended the NRA Police Firearms Instructor’s school and was listed as a senior Firearms Instructor for many years. He has competed at the National Police Shooting Championship for 36 years. Lt. Kurtzeborn was in the first graduating Reserve II motorcycle officer’s class. He was a Reserve II motorcycle officer for 16 years and has been a Reserve II training lieutenant. Lt. Kurtzeborn also served with aviation, marine patrol, and security at the Port of Tampa. After 9/11, he was selected to be the assistant coordinator for scheduling off-duty security officers from all agencies for details at the Port. Presently, you can find Lt. Kurtzeborn riding with Reserve II Captain Todd Adams on the late-night shift. In 2019, he accumulated over 500 service hours. Lt. Kurtzeborn is married to Julie, and they have a son, daughter, son-in-law, and three grandsons.
Our 2020 Heroes Law Enforcement Tampa Police Department Detective Michael McNamara Detective McNamara has been a member of the Violent Crimes Bureau since 2016. One of his many duties includes monitoring the social media accounts of known violent offenders. He routinely attends court hearings for problem offenders to ensure proper prosecution, sentencing, and when applicable, probation stipulations. He has successfully secured probation conditions in favor of law enforcement, prohibiting the offender from associating with his/her known criminal counterparts or having in his/her possession anything that resembles a firearm. He also helps facilitate the lines of communication between the Tampa Police Department and prosecutors. Assistant State Attorney Marissa Rozas of the 13th Judicial Circuit recognized Detective McNamara’s efforts and nominated him for the Law Enforcement Officer Excellence in Performance Award. Detective McNamara routinely goes above and beyond the call of duty. His commitment has led to the arrest and prosecution of multiple violent felons, and he has taken numerous illegal crime guns off the streets of Tampa. There is no doubt that the citizens of Tampa are safer as a result of his hard work and dedication. For his efforts, Detective McNamara was recognized as the 2019 Tampa Police Department Officer of the Year.
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Detention Deputy Misty Perkins Deputy Misty Perkins has made herself an asset to her squad and supervisors at Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. She is celebrated by her peers as a “selfless contributor to the betterment of others.” Deputy Perkins often takes on leadership roles within her squad and with her peers. She is a positive role model to both sworn and civilian staff. As a Field Training Deputy, she trains new deputies in Central Booking who have little knowledge of the processes. She has effectively prevented over 140 items of contraband, including drugs and weapons, from entering the facility. When she is not training other deputies, she spearheads Office fundraising activities that benefit the community. She has spent countless hours volunteering, raising money, and distributing gifts and food for underprivileged families in the community. Through her hard work and unwavering positive attitude, Deputy Perkins truly exemplifies the core values and mission of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. She maintains the highest standards of integrity, accountability, and community service. Deputy Perkins has 2 daughters, Ashley and Britney, and 4 wonderful grandchildren, Ayden, Aubrey, Addyson, and Paisley.
Tampa Police Department Reserve Officer Michael “MD” Smith Reserve Officer Michael “MD” Smith has been a member of the Tampa Police Department’s Reserve Force since 2003. After 30 years of service to the citizens of Tampa, Reserve Officer Smith retired as a sergeant. After retirement, he was re-employed as a Police Community Service Officer and later transferred to a position as an Evidence Technician until he retired for the second time in 2014. Reserve Officer Smith was selected to be a Squad Leader within the Reserve Force due to his prior experience. Reserve Officer Smith remains very knowledgeable in all policies and procedures. He assists the Reserve Force Coordinator by updating the squad members on details that they may have missed and gives advice to younger reserve officers when they run across a new or unusual situation. Reserve Officer Smith has volunteered over 3,800 hours in 16 years of service as a Reserve Officer. His leadership, dedication, and commitment to the Reserve Force and Tampa Police Department is unmatched. It is for these reasons that Reserve Officer Michael Smith was selected as the Tampa Police Department’s Reserve Officer of the Year.
Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Curtis L. Vaughn Trooper Curtis Vaughn has displayed outstanding courage and gallantry in the face of many dangerous situations. On April 28, 2019, Vaughn became involved in the pursuit of a stolen pickup truck. The suspect had committed aggravated assault with a motor vehicle upon multiple Citrus County Deputies. Upon becoming directly involved in the pursuit, Vaughn assumed the primary position as another Trooper handled radio communications. He showed incredible bravery while being fired upon by the suspect. Rather than back off from the obvious danger, Vaughn increased his efforts to end the pursuit by driving directly behind the suspect vehicle. The suspect continued his attempts to block any effective measures to end the pursuit. With full knowledge the suspect had fired at him, Vaughn closed the distance between the two vehicles and was able to hook the rear hitch and cause the vehicle to rotate. The vehicle rotated to the right and overturned, thus ending the pursuit. The suspect was immediately taken into custody. While being shot at, Trooper Vaughn made the personal decision to close with and engage the suspect, disregarding his own personal safety to end an active threat to the safety of others. He continuously goes beyond the call of duty to protect our community.
Some days, it can be a thankless job. But today isn’t one of them.
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