Elks Honor Law Enforcement and Firefighters with Appreciation Dinner
Meritorious Service Awards
By Judy and Mike Klinger, MV Elks
Photography by Mike Klinger
The Mission Viejo / Saddleback Valley Elks #2444 held their Annual Law Enforcement and Firefighters Appreciation Meritorious Service Award Dinner on Saturday night. Seventeen distinguished first-responders received 2016 Firefighters, Officers and Deputy of the Year Awards, sponsored by the Mission Viejo Charity Bingo Committee, its’ volunteers and Chairman Harvey Boelts PDDGER. First and foremost, the Orange County Fire Authority Color Guard presented the colors followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. A prayer by MV Elks Chaplain Dave Tucker then Mission Viejo Elks Exalted Ruler, Dave McLeod, got the evening rolling and introduced the Master of Ceremonies for the night, MV Elks Past Exalted Ruler, Dennis Keffer. Joining the festivities for the evening were Mayor pro tem from Laguna Niguel Fred Minagar, Lake Forest Mayor Scott Voigts and Mission Viejo Mayor Wendy Bucknum. Before the awards ceremony began, everyone dined on a wonderful filet mignon dinner then dessert, prepared by the Boelts family members and lodge chef Kevin Lindley, all served by our local Girl Scout troop.
The 2016 Meritorious Services Awards were presented to: Officer of the Year, California Highway Patrol Officer Troy Meyers presented by Lt. Denise Joslin; Officer of the Year, City of San Juan Capistrano Investigator Anton Pereyra introduced by Lt. Scott Spalding; Firefighter of the Year, Laguna Beach Fire Department Captain Scott Jennie, Division Chief Ed Valdez introduced Captain Jennie; Lt. Ray Ulmer accepted Officer of the Year for City of Aliso Viejo Deputy Jason Laza; Officer of the Year for City of Laguna Beach Deputy Eustacio “Anthony” Lopez was introduced by Lt. Roland Chacon; Firefighter of the Year, OCFA Battalion 4 Laguna Niguel Captain Scott Ashbech; Deputy of the Year, City of San Clemente Deputy Jesse Demarest received award from Lt. Dave Moody; Deputy of the Year, City of Dana Point Deputy Chris Eiben introduced by Lt. Russell Chilton; Deputy of the Year, City of Lake Forest Deputy Greg Allen with Lt. Brad Valentine; OCFA Battalion 6 Firefighter Paramedic Brian Abney (no present) introduced by Division Chief John Able; Deputy of the Year, City of Laguna Niguel Motor Officer Deputy Bryan Robins introduced by Lt. Matthew Bar; Deputy of the Year, City of Rancho Santa Margarita Deputy James Gagen; Lt. Ken Binning accepted award for Deputy of the Year, City of Mission Viejo Deputy Joe Cislo presented by Mission Viejo Mayor Wendy Bucknum; Deputy of the Year, South East Operations Deputy Thomas Stammer introduced by Captain Cheryl Dubski; Firefighter of the Year, OCFA Battalion 7 Firefighter Robby Bosanko introduced by Captain Rob Capobianco; Firefighter of the Year, OCFA Battalion 7 Reserve Firefighter Eddie Barrera and Firefighter of the Year, OCFA Battalion 7 Fire Explorer Mitchell Watrous introduced by Captain Bruce Newell.
As the ceremony progressed, all presenters acknowledged the accomplishments of the award winners and praised the Mission Viejo Elks for the hospitality and the annual recognition of the men and women who keep our community safe. Mission Viejo/Saddleback Valley Elks Lodge #2444 is celebrating 47 years of service to Saddleback Valley Communities. It is one of 10 lodges in the Orange Coast District of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) whose headquarters is in Chicago, Illinois. The BPOE is a charitable organization with a 148-year history of giving. "Elks Care Elks Share"