FAIRBORN — The Fairborn Council 3724, Knights of Columbus Blue Coat Awards were instituted in 1973 to honor police officers and firefighters in recognition of service to the community. It recently hosted the annual awards, honoring individuals who keep the community safe.
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 honored to include additional community service personnel from the City of Fairborn, Greene County Sheriff’s Department, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Wright State University, the Xenia Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and other citizens.
Fairborn Police Chief Terry Barlow, Fairborn Fire Department Chief Michael Riley, Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer, Fairborn Municipal Court Judge Beth W. Cappelli and former three-time Fairborn Mayor and current Fairborn Police Advisory Council Member Tom Nagel are past Blue Coat Award honorees.
During the March 22 ceremony, Grand Knight Eugene Erbacher welcomed the 155 dignitaries, honorees, members, widows and guests in attendance. Beavercreek Boy Scout Troop 68 Eagle Scouts Jonathan and Christopher Karhoff posted the colors and Beavercreek Troop 68 Assistant Scoutmaster Jeff Karhoff led the attendees in the pledge of allegiance.
Fairborn Knight Herb Edwards gave the invocation and Erbacher then invited everyone to enjoy a roast beef dinner prepared by K of C kitchen team. Following dinner, Erbacher introduced Past Grand Knight (PGK) John Wolfe as the master of ceremonies for the evening’s awards program.
Wolfe called upon Fairborn Mayor Paul Keller who read a proclamation and presented it to Erbacher naming March 22, 2018 as “Knights of Columbus Blue Coat Awards Day” in Fairborn. Ohio Senator Bob Hackett, Intern Ivan Mallet representing Ohio Representative Rick Perales, Greene County Commission Bob Glaser, WPAFB 88th Security Forces Squadron Commander Major Aaron Rittgers and Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer also gave opening remarks.
The Fairborn Council 3724, Knights of Columbus, 2017–2018 Blue Coat of the Year Awards honorees included: Fairborn Police Officer Award to Officer Ryan Dunlevy, Fairborn Firefighter Award to Firefighter Gregg Wert and Fairborn Municipal Employee Award to Jon Petty, Greene County Sheriff’s Deputy Awards to Office Deputy Janet Lorents and to Law Enforcement Deputy Major Rick Bowman, Wright State University Police Officer Award to Sergeant Stephen M. Powers, Ohio State Highway Patrol – Xenia Post Trooper Award to Trooper Brian Coates, WPAFB Security Forces Security Officer Award to Technical Sergeant Shawna Laris, WPAFB Firefighter Award to Firefighter – Paramedic Bryan (Gus) Gustafson, WPAFB Wounded Warrior Award to Senior Airman Blaine M. Greenwalt, Volunteer Award to Tom Boland, Scout Award to Christopher Karhoff and Youth Award to Jonathan F. Karhoff.
Grand Knight Erbacher presented each honoree with a K of C plaque and Senator Hackett presented Ohio Senate Certificates, Intern Ivan Mallet and Intern James Curlis presented Ohio House of Representatives Certificates. Commissioner Bob Glaser presented Greene County Board of Commissioners Resolutions to each honoree.
Wolfe expressed his thanks to all those in attendance for this Fairborn K of C Community and patriotic event and to Bill Gazzerro and Kateri Crawford for pictures and video of the event.
Before closing, Erbacher made a special presentation naming Sir Knight John A. Wolfe, PGK FDD as the Fairborn Council Blue Coat Awards Chairman and master of ceremonies emeritus for his many years of involvement with the Blue Coat Awards during the past 45 years.