Elks Lodge Awards Honor Local Responders
The Park City Elks Lodge passed out its annual First Responder Awards last Saturday, before a crowd of police officers, firefighters and EMTs gathered at the Miners Hospital in City Park.
While the Elks had presented awards in 2020, first responders were not able to gather together then, due to restrictions required by the pandemic. The honors given out on Saturday reflected some of the activities of the past year.
The Park City Police Officer for the Year is Kacey Comer, who became a reserve officer in 2010 and has worked full-time since 2016.
Police Chief Wade Carpenter discussed how he worked with the Main Street business community last year.
“With many of the other challenges that our department and the community has faced since 2020 with the COVID pandemic, Officer Comer found meaningful ways to connect with our business owners and Main Street Business Alliance," Carpenter said. "Officer Comer would regularly check in on businesses on Main Street and look for ways in which he could develop and help different businesses and owners thrive during this difficult time.”
Park City’s Firefighter of the Year is Joe Sharrar, who joined in 2013 and graduated as a paramedic in 2015. His citation also noted he’s carrying on a family legacy. His father served with the Los Angeles Fire Department and his mother retired from that city’s police department.
The EMT for the year, Tyler Cox, has worked for Summit County Emergency Medical Services since late 2018. He took a full-time job there last May. And he hopes to be a firefighter paramedic with the Park City Fire District.
The Summit County Deputy of the Year is McKade Rushton. Lt. Ken Jones recalled how he was surprised and impressed when he noticed how many arrests Deputy Rushton was making last year.
“I called his supervisor, Eric Maynard, and said ‘Is this right?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, and it doesn’t surprise me.’ " Jones said. "The jail wasn’t taking a lot of arrests or doing citations and stuff. But they were taking DUIs and Maynard said, he just went out and found DUIs. He just went out and found all the—y’know DUIs are you know, it’s a B misdemeanor. But I see all the EMTs and firefighters, we know the havoc that DUIs create in this community. And they are a lot of work for a cop. And a lot of cops get a couple DUIs, this is a harder arrest than a most felonies, and they stay away from em. But McKade didn’t do that. McKade did what he had to do, went to work.”
Finally, the Utah Highway Patrol Trooper of the Year is Brent Strong, a three-year veteran. UHP Lieutenant Randall Richie said 2020 was a busy year for him.
“He’s part of our Highway Patrol Public Protection Unit, which is our crowd management unit," Richie said. "And, as you can imagine, from what 2020 was like and the climate, he was called away a lot to do that type of assignment down at the Capitol and various other places. Always represented the state with honor and distinction doing that. Great professionalism. So he had a really busy year with that.”
Lt. Randall Richie with the Utah Highway Patrol.