LIMA — The 19th annual awards luncheon held by the Lima-Allen County Safe Community Coalition and FOPA Lodge 8 and FOP Lodge 21 were held Thursday at the FOP Hall.
The purpose of the awards is to honor members of the Lima community who are working to guard the safety and well-being of the community and surrounding area.
“It is a way to say thank you to all of our safety services personnel. Everybody that comes forward and says I want to do something to make life better for the people in the community. As far as I’m concerned, they’re all heroes. In the climate that we have today, too many times safety service personnel, especially law enforcement officers, they’re shot at, they’re not hugged, and we consider it an honor to be able to hug them and say thank you,” said Evelyn Smith, of the Lima-Allen County Regional Planning Commission.
There were 10 awards handed out to members of the community in a variety of categories this year. Sheriff Matt Treglia presented each award.
One award held a special meaning to Alan Mefferd, FOP Lodge 21 financial secretary.
The Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Sheriff James K. “Jimmy” Everett, of the Allen County Sheriff’s Office. His wife, Pam, accepted the award.
“The last one, the award we are giving out to Sheriff Jim Everett. He had almost four decades with the Sheriff’s office either as a deputy all the way through,” said Mefferd. “Jim was a mentor of mine when I was in the detective bureau. He showed me the ropes on that. Our desks were side by side. As a matter of fact, he did my background when I first got hired too. I’ve known him from the time I got hired full time in 1993. That one holds special significance to me. You’ll see when that award is read and presented. He was a special guy.”
Mefferd’s sentiments were echoed by Evelyn Smith, of the Lima-Allen County Regional Planning Commission.
”He was such a beloved member of our community. I’ve never heard anybody say anything negative about him. He’s just a beloved member of the community and we just consider it an honor to be able to honor him. It’s a privilege to do that,” said Smith.
However, another award that stood out to Smith was the Outstanding Citizens award.
“The Ehrnsberger family, you know it’s got to be difficult when somebody says, ‘Can you re-visit your grief and talk to people publicly about the loss of your child?’ And this family has said yes, we’ll do whatever you want us to do whenever you want us to do it. And so they have been so willing to go on TV, to talk to the media, to go in front of people and share their grief and their loss,” said Smith.
The Ehrnsberger family lost their son, Aaron Ehrnsberger in a hit and run on Allentown Road on May 31, 2015. He was on a motorcycle and an impaired driver hit him and fled the scene and then fled the community.
“More than an award for them, this is a thank you. It’s just showing our gratitude that they’ve been so willing to share their son with us,” said Smith.
Reach Merri Hanjora at 567-242-0511