FAIRBORN — Fairborn Council 3724, Knights of Columbus (K of C), recently held their 41st annual Blue Coat Awards at the Mary Help of Christians Parish Center in Fairborn.
The Blue Coat Awards were instituted by Fairborn Council 3724, K of C, in 1973 to honor police officers and firefighters in recognition of service to the community. Fairborn Patrolman Raymond E. Liebherr, who later became Fairborn Police Chief, and Fairborn Firefighter Edward H. Heigal were the first Blue Coat Award recipients.
Fairborn Council 3724 later expanded those honors to include additional community service personnel and citizens From the City of Fairborn, Greene County Sheriff’s Department, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Wright State University and the Xenia Post of the Ohio State Patrol. Fairborn Police Chief Terry Barlow, Fairborn Fire Department Chief Michael Riley and Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer are Past Blue Coat Award Honorees.
During the March 20 ceremony, Grand Knight Don Banford welcomed the approximately 120 dignitaries, honorees, members and guests in attendance and K of C member Herb Edwards gave the Invocation. Past Grand Knight (PGK) William Gazzerro led the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance. Deputy Grand Knight (DGK) Herman Karhoff invited everyone to enjoy a roast beef dinner prepared by K of C Kitchen Team. Following dinner, Grand Knight Banford introduced Master of Ceremonies PGK John A. Wolfe to open the evening’s awards program.
PGK Wolfe called upon Fairborn Mayor Dan Kirkpatrick who read a Proclamation and presented it to Grand Knight Banford naming March 20, 2014 as “Knights of Columbus Blue Coat Awards Day” in Fairborn, Ohio. Ohio Senator Chris Widener spoke on behalf of himself, Ohio Representative Rick Perales and Greene County Commission President Bob Glaser and Vice President Tom Koogler. Wright-Patterson AFB 88th Mission Support Group Commander Colonel Emi Izawa also gave opening remarks.
The Fairborn Council 3724, Knights of Columbus, 2013–2014 Blue Coat of the Year Awards honorees were: Fairborn Police Officer Award to Detective Ryan Whittaker, Fairborn Firefighter Award to Chris Brock, Greene County Sheriff ’s Deputy Award to Sgt. Brad Balonier, Wright State University Police Officer Award to Kurt Holden, Ohio State Patrol Xenia Post Trooper Award to Jason P. Kelly, Wright-Patterson AFB Security Forces Police Officer Award to Senior Airman Sean M. Davis, Wright-Patterson AFB Firefighter Award to District Chief Mike Roberts, City of Fairborn Municipal Employee Award to Mitch Boedicker, Volunteer Award to PGK John Maiorano, Youth Award to Hayley Milliron, and Scout Award to Andrew Brehm.
Grand Knight Banford presented each honoree with a plaque. Senator Widener, Representative Perales and Greene County Commissioners Glaser and Koogler also presented Ohio Senate, Ohio House of Representatives and Greene County Board of Commissioners Certificates to each honoree.
Other dignitaries in attendance were Fairborn Police Chief Terry L. Barlow, Fairborn Police Captain Dan Arwood, Fairborn Fire Chief Michael G. Riley and Division Chief Dave Reichert, Fairborn Deputy Mayor Marilyn McCauley, Councilman Paul Keller, City Manager Deborah McDonnell, Parks & Recreation Superintendent Alicia Eckhart and Public Administration Service Director Pete Bales, Ohio State Patrol Xenia Post Commander Lt. Douglas Eck, WPAFB 88th Security Forces Squadron Commander Maj. John Rose and MSgt. Rachel Leughers, WPAFB Fire Department Deputy Chief Tracey Young and Asst. Chief for Operations Joe Ruhe, Wright State University Police Chief David Finnie and Capt. David Ratliff, K of C Insurance Field Agent Dennis P. Kelly, and K of C District Deputy Frank P. Carchedi.
Representative Perales presented an Ohio House of Representatives Certificate of Congratulation to Fairborn Council 3724, K of C, commending the council members, PGK Frank J. Minnick and current GK Don Banford on the 2012 – 2013 Supreme Council, K of C, Star Council Award.
PGK Wolfe closed the program by speaking about the respect and appreciation the K of C members have for the area police officers, firefighters, sheriff’s deputies, state troopers and other first responders for all that they do to safeguard the lives and property of the people they serve. PGK Wolfe also noted the possible dangers that that may face daily and about Line of Duty Deaths (LODD) experienced at various departments. Greene County has had 8 LODD. The event was videotaped by Kyle Wilkerson, a Wright State University graduate, and pictures were taken by PGK William Gazzerro and Lexis Engle.