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Volunteers Honored for Public Safety Contributions

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Frank Kams enjoys discovering the San Bernardino National Forest on foot. But walking the wilderness, he says, takes on a special meaning when, as a volunteer Search and Rescue team leader, he can reunite a lost or injured hiker with his family.

Hazel Parham wanted to be in law enforcement when she was young. Now a retiree, she says it's a "dream come true" to volunteer transporting evidence and paperwork for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department in Fontana.

Both dedicated volunteers were among 22 honored on Oct. 19 by Assemblymember Wilmer Amina Carter, D-Rialto and local law enforcement leaders for providing exemplary service to public safety agencies within the 62nd Assembly District.

"The honorees have given thousands of hours and their special talents and resources to public safety agencies," Assemblymember Carter said at her fourth annual Public Safety Volunteers Recognition Ceremony at the Inland Regional Center Conference Center in San Bernardino.

"I want to make sure their sacrifice is recognized and appreciated."

Because of the help of Parham and many other Sheriff Department volunteers, "deputies and other employees are free to perform their other duties," Assistant Sheriff Ron Cochran said at the ceremony.

And, highly-trained department volunteers are instrumental in the planning, evaluation and management of Search and Rescue operations in the 20,000- square mile county.

Other volunteer honorees included, Steve Guggisberg and Mike Ward, all of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department; Phil Dupree, Jeff Richardson, Ed Ross and Bonnie Ross, all of the San Bernardino County Fire Department; Frank Rosenbusch and Michael Eckley, both of the San Bernardino Police Department; Gerald Maneri of the Colton Police Department; Joanna Ruston of the Colton Fire Department; Debbie Kott, Dominic Polimeni and Helen Ramirez, all of the Fontana Police Department; Barbara Roadarmel and Lizette Escobedo, both of the Rialto Police Department; Michael Ramirez of the Rialto Fire Department; Paul M. Dennert of the California High Patrol; Larry Gathwright of the San Bernardino County Public Defender's Office and Steven A. Gomez and Nick Arroyo, both of the San Bernardino County Probation Department.

Also honoring public safety volunteers at the ceremony were: San Bernardino County Fire Chief/Fire Warden Mark Hartwig, City of San Bernardino Chief of Police Robert Handy, City of Fontana Police Chief Rod Jones, City of Colton Police Chief Steve Ward, City of Colton Fire Chief Tim McHargue; City of Rialto Police Chief William Farrar; Rialto Fire Battalion Chief Frank Bekker; California Highway Patrol Lieutenant Tel Preszler; and Interim Public Defender Phyllis Morris.

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