VFW Post #1 honors two of Portland’s finest

See who was awarded firefighter and police officer of the year at the 30th edition of this East Portland event, which honors all of Portland’s public safety personnel‚

At the VFW Post #1 Awards Friendship Dinner, Post M.C. Tom Murphy stands with their “Firefighter of the Year”, Portland Fire & Rescue’s John Hill. Captain Marco Benatti presented the award.

By David F. Ashton
Every year, members of outer East Portland’s VFW Post #1 takes time out to celebrate the good work done by local firefighters and police officers.

“This is the 30th year,” the post’s Adjutant, Richard Linstead explained, “that our post has held an awards banquet to honor our dedicated public servants.”

On April 21, at the Friendship Dinner, more than 100 people packed the organization’s banquet hall on SE 122nd Ave. The awards ceremony‚ filled with humorous comments about the recipients‚ began after the assembled group enjoyed a delicious dinner.

Awards Firefighter of the Year
Portland Fire & Rescue Firefighter Specialist John Hill, a Gresham resident, was presented the “Firefighter of the Year” of the year award. Hill serves at Station 24, the marine emergency response center for Portland Fire & Rescue. He’s developed a comprehensive navigation system to help Portland’s fireboats traverse our rivers, even during bad weather.

According to the bureau, Hill is role model — both in his organization and in the community. This firefighter has given more than 800 hours of community service time to support the Barlow football programs.

Last year’s “Police Officer of the Year“, Michael Gallagher, accompanies this year’s award winner, Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Officer Robert Slyter, to the podium. East Precinct’s Lt. Ron Anderson presented the award; he’s accompanied by M.C. Tom Murphy.

Police officer from East Precinct honored
It doesn’t surprise us that Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Officer Robert Slyter was nominated as the “Police Officer of the Year.”

An outer East Portland native, Slyter graduated from David Douglas High School. He’s served as on the Neighborhood Response Team and Crime Reduction Unit‚ and initiated a pilot project for patrolling a portion of NE Sandy Blvd.‚ on foot. (Click here to read our detailed story about the Parkrose Foot Patrol.)

The two award winners, Linstead said, were chosen by the men and women working in their respective bureaus. “We are in debt to the men and women who work around the clock, often putting their lives in danger, to help keep us safe,” he added.

Special thanks to Anita Finn for her photographs.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~East Portland News Service

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