The Ionic Masonic Lodge #38 hosted the second annual First Responder Awards dinner on Jan. 15, to honor deserving individuals within our community who have been identified by their supervisors or nominating official’s as those first responders who truly represent the best in all of us.
The purpose of the ceremony was to publicly recognize first responders and thank them for their service to the community. The presentation of the awards was made by the Masonic Ionic Lodge Worshipful Master Phil Meis.
William Torres, EMS Director of Marcus Daly Hospital, recognized AEMT Rachel Wicks (Advanced Emergency Medical Technician) as she has clearly demonstrated her knowledge of her craft, leadership among her peers and her focus on client/patient care. Wicks is currently earning her final EMT certification. She will continue to be a much valued member of the Marcus Daly EMT team.
Hamilton Volunteer Fire First Assistant Joe Kerr recognized firefighter Tyson Woods for his leadership within the Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department. Woods has nine years of experience within the Hamilton Volunteer Fire station. Kerr said Woods is always calm under pressure, works hard no matter what task is assigned, is knowledgeable and more importantly saves his complaints until after the call is over. The decision to select Woods was based on his statistics, some of which include 196 hours of training, participating in 75 percent of the calls, his hazardous materials training and currently working on his EMT certification. Woods has been promoted to the rank of captain.
Hamilton Police Chief Ryan Oster recognized Sgt. Don Niemeir for his commitment to our community. Niemeir has been with the department since 2011 and was promoted to Sargent in 2018. Niemeir always operates at the highest standard, ever willing to go the extra mile, fills in for other officers when needed, participates in community outreach programs and as important shows professional courtesy to the public, even under tense situations. Niemeir is well deserving of this honor and a credit to the department.
Sargent Scott Bennett, supervising patrolman for the Montana Highway Patrol, recognized Trooper Lath Keith for his commitment to the safety of our community. Last year Keith responded to an urgent 911 call from motorists reporting a large semi-truck driving seemingly out of control heading south from Missoula. Keith caught up with and went ahead of the truck, warning other vehicles of the possible danger, which included weaving from lane to lane, and the truck crossing over into the north bound lanes. Eventually Keith was able to pull the driver over in Victor without incident and no harm to anyone.
Ravalli County Sheriff Steve Holton made the final presentation of the evening to Lt. Jon Moles as he is the “go to” officer in the department. Moles is intuitive in his approach to law enforcement, always on the job, knows what needs to be done and also the senior officer that the young officers look up to for guidance. Moles monitors the police radio contacts with other officers and is quick to help other officers at a moment’s notice. Sometimes Moles arrives at the call scene before the other responding officers.
Ionic Lodge #38 is a Masonic organization within the umbrella of the Masonic families, which include Shriners, Scottish Rite, York Rite, Order of Eastern Star, Rainbow Girls, Jobs Daughters and DeMolay for young Men.
In closing, Meis thanked the participants, their families and the Ionic Brothers for again hosting the First Responder’s Awards Dinner. The awards recipients for this event were mostly centered within the Hamilton Community. Future events may broaden the focus to other communities and organizations, to those people who are the unsung heroes within our valley.