BRANFORD >> More than a dozen fire and police officials from Shoreline towns were awarded for going “above and beyond” in the line of duty, at the second annual Honoring Shoreline Heroes dinner Wednesday night.
Jack Mushin of the Branford Exchange Club said they planned the event at The WoodWind to celebrate the “everyday heroes” in the area.
“These first responders are master communicators, compassionate, empathic to those in need, have the right attitude, and have the respect of their peers,” said Mushin.
Fire and police departments in Branford, Guilford and North Branford chose two first responders from each town department to be honored, one from Guilford police. They were recognized with plaques and certificates, dinner, and performances by the Yale Alley Cats, New Haven County Emerald Society Pipes and Drums Band, and speeches by forensic expert Henry C. Lee and Bikers Against Child Abuse International.
Branford First Selectman James Cosgrove said this type of event is something he wishes happened more often.
“Far too often we honor the police and fire after a tragic event. I think it’s great that they’ve put together this event and not only recognize the heroes that perform during these particular events but the day-to-day commitment they have to serving the community and enhancing our quality of life,” said Cosgrove.
Branford honorees were Firefighter Eugene Hayes, Volunteer Deputy Fire Chief Timothy Murray, Officer Josef Herten and Officer Marc Andrew. Representing Guilford were Fire Captain Michael Shove, Deputy Fire Chief Robert Auger and Detective Martina Jakober.
From North Branford were Firefighters Kyle Conklin and Alexander Shamp and Officers Brian Hannon and Mario Bernardo. Retired Fire Chief Jack Ahern, of Branford, and former Guilford Police Chief Thomas A. Terribile were given the Special Distingushed Award. Ahern served the community for 35 years, Terribile for 40.
Hundreds of community members from all six towns came to celebrate the local heroes including state Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr., D-Branford, and state Rep.Sean Scanlon, D-Guilford.
Scanlon, whose father was a cop and grandfather a firefighter, said the ceremony is the least they can do for the first responders who keep the community safe.
“I know how hard of a job they do every day and we don’t honor them enough,” said Scanlon. “They deserve to have a fancy dinner and get plaques and awards and recognition to thank them for their service.”
The night is just a small token of appreciation for the people who risk their lives to keep the community safe, said Mushin.
“We really want to let our police and fire fighters know that we have their backs just like they have ours,” said Mushin. “I just hope they know how much we really do appreciate them.”