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Mid-Del Tinker 100 celebrates first responders

Former Midwest City Police Chief Sid Porter receives the End of the Trail Award after his retirement. Photo By Jeff Harrison

Awards given to police, firefighter and emergency service employees of the year

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon

Mid-Del Tinker 100 honored local first responders and public safety officers last week at their annual awards banquet at Rose State College.

The organization presented awards for firefighter and police officer of the year for Tinker Air Force Base, Midwest City and Del City, as well as emergency services person of the year. They also recognized a retired police chief and a hall of fame inductee.

Col. (Ret) Stephanie Wilson was the guest speaker for the event. Wilson retired from the Air Force in May 2017 after 24 years of service and her last duty station was 72nd Air Base Wing commander at Tinker Air Force Base. She returned to Tinker and works as base civil engineer and fire marshal.

Wilson said it’s easy to take emergency services for granted.

“We have no idea of what it takes for that competent person to answer our calls, to get the professional trainer responder to us in our time of need,” she said. “We just have the luxury of knowing that it’s going to happen and that’s amazing. And I sometimes think we take it for granted.”

Wilson said she’s gotten to know local police and firefighters especially through Leadership Midwest City. She got a glimpse of what first responders go through every day.

About a year ago, Wilson got a scare when she was rushed to the hospital due to a medical emergency. She commended their care and professionalism.

“In that moment, they were there with me,” she said. “They talked to me, they calmed me down, they explained what they were doing, and they helped me get past my worst fears.”

Wilson said police, fire and EMS personnel have their own unique set of challenges, but it’s their shared dedication and commitment that stands out.

“Every day they put their lives on the line, and they do that because they care about us,” she said. “They do that to protect and serve us the community.”

Wilson urged the crowd to not only honor first responders but support them and make sure they have all the resources needed to do the job.

“As a taxpayer, when there is a vote about what these fine men and women need to get their jobs done, show up to the polls please,” she said. “As a parent, we need to teach our kids to respect these fine people. And as a citizen, honor their service and be engaged in what matters to them. These fine men and women in uniform need to know that we have their back, not just tonight, but every night.”

Following Wilson’s speech, the group honored outstanding local firefighters, police officers and emergency personnel.

The award winners were:
Midwest City: Garrett Matlock (Firefighter), Tyler Leveridge (Police), Emergency Services (Madi White).
Del City: Steve Davis, Shawn Carter, Dylan Velasquez, McKay Rorabaugh and Cord Belshe (Red Shift, Firefighters), Ronnie Neal (Police), Heather Mitchell (Emergency Services).
Tinker Air Force Base: Jason McKnight (Firefighter), Chase Patane (Air Force police), Schuyler Baum (Navy police).

The honorees are selected by the chief or commander from each department.

The Mid-Del Tinker 100 also awards scholarships to children or spouses of first responders. This year’s scholarship recipient was Hutch Russell, a student at Carl Albert High School.

Former Midwest City Police Chief Sid Porter was also presented with the End of Trail award. Porter recently retired after nearly 40 years with the department. He served as assistant chief for 12 years and was chief for more than two years.

“I’m a blessed man for having a job I love for 40 years,” he said. “… We always get support and that’s what we need. That’s why I love this community.”

Randy Smith was also presented with a special appreciation award for 15 years of service to Mid-Del Tinker 100. Smith has served on the board and as executive treasurer.

“It has been an honor and a big privilege for me to be able to volunteer my time for an organization whose only mission is to assist, honor and recognize our emergency responders who are always willing to put their own safety at risk to protect us and assist us when it’s desperately needed.”

The evening ended with a change of leadership. New president Chris Neisent took the reins from past president Erin Stevens. He also presented Stevens with a ceremonial president’s gavel.

Tyler Leveridge was named the Midwest City Police Officer of the Year. Photo by Jeff Harrison

Del City Firefighters of the Year are Steve Davis, Shawn Carter, Dylan Velasquez, McKay Rorabaugh, and Cord Belshe. Photo by Jeff Harrison

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