Honoring Orange’s Finest and Bravest

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Police Chief Bob Gustafson with Police Officer of the Year Ignacio Maciel and Police Chief Bob Gustafson with Police Volunteer of the Year Ralph Curcio (Photo credit: Steve Lopushinsky, Turville Photography)

Thursday, April 14th marked the 42nd year that members of the three Rotary Clubs in Orange formally recognized outstanding men and women members of the Orange Police and Fire Departments for their dedication and service to the community. Orange Rotary Clubs began participating in the traditional event to promote greater appreciation for those who keep our community safe. 

Members of North Orange Rotary, Orange Plaza Rotary and Orange Rotary participated in the luncheon program at Noon at Grand Catered Events, 300 South Flower St. in Orange, including Police and Fire Department employees and family and friends of the honorees.

This event marked the final involvement of Police Chief Gustafson who retired that day and will truly missed after thirty-seven years of distinguished service in Orange. Joining him in presentations was Fire Chief Jack Thomas, welcomed recently as the new Fire Chief after twenty-eight years of service with the Fire Department.

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Police Explorer of the Year Alan Uribe with Teri Snyder of Plaza Rotary, receiving $1,000 scholarship

Police Employees of the Year who were honored and presented with their awards by Police Chief Bob Gustafson were Police Officer of the Year- Corporal Ignacio Maciel, Supervisor of the Year- Sergeant Rob Mc Cafferty, Reserve Officer of The Year- Marti Hein, Non-Sworn Police Services Officer- Sandra Ruelas, Explorer of the Year- Alan Uribe, and Volunteer of the Year-Ralph Curcio.
Fire Department Employees of the Year who were honored and presented with their awards by Fire Chief Jack Thomas were Fire Fighter of the Year- John Barrios. Fire Manager of the Year- Battalion Chief Kevin Southerland, Fire Reserve Inspector of the Year- Bryson Dahlheimer, and Fire Non-Sworn Employee of the Year-Fire Safety Specialist Vince Anderson and Fire Explorer of the Year Rickie Griffis.

Members of Police Explorer Post 266, the first municipal police department Explorer Post established in the United States, conducted the Presentation of Colors. A $1,000 scholarship was presented to Alan Uribe, Police Explorer of the Year, in honor of Chief Gustafson’s long service and retirement. Rickie Griffis, Fire Explorer of the Year also received a $1,000 scholarship in honor of the appointment of Jack Thomas as new Orange Fire Chief.

Orange Rotary Co-Chairs Matt Drenner and Jay Carr along with Orange Rotary President Dr. Murad Gharibian, thanked all members of the program participants, including Rotary District Governor Ken Padilla, Orange Rotary members Gary Remland, William G. Steiner, Randy Bryan, Gayle Merino, and photographer Steve Lopushinsky; Orange Plaza members Rae Shirer and Teri Snyder; and Orange North Rotary members David Silva and Bill Utter.

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