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Veterans recognize first responders

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5377 held its annual awards ceremony recognizing first responders with the organization’s Firefighter, Law Enforcement, and EMT of the Year awards.

The awards ceremony was held Tuesday evening at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital. Those recognized were Steven Smith an emergency responder with AirEvac, Alabama State Trooper Cpl. Kevin Bell, and Demopolis Firefighter Lt. Alex Morris.

The awards were presented by the VFW’s Post Commander Lee Belcher and Post Surgeon Phillip Spence.

“This is our way of recognizing only a few of the many who serve us so bravely. It is a difficult task when you have so many who do so much,” Spence said.

The awards are presented to those first responders who perform duties in the VFW Post’s area, which includes Marengo, Hale and Sumter counties.

The post recognized Steven Smith with the Gold Medal EMT of the Year Award. Smith, whose paramedic career spans 23 years, serves as a paramedic team member with Air Evac in Demopolis.

“His whole mission is to serve and save lives,” stated a letter nominating Smith for the award. “He is devoted to those in need and is an impeccable leader who sets the example for us all to follow.”

Along with winning at the VFW’s local level, Smith has already won district and will now be considered for the VFW’s state EMT award.

The Emergency Service Gold Medal Award-Outstanding Firefighter of the Year went to Lt. Alex Morris of the Demopolis Fire Department. Morris, a Demopolis resident, is an eight-year veteran of the department.

“Lt. Morris dedicated his life to the citizens of Demopolis as a firefighter. He has distinguished himself with many hours of sustained accomplishments. He has been faithful and loyal to his department and to the citizens of Demopolis,” stated Smith’s nomination.

The VFW’s J. Edgar Hoover Gold Medal Award recognizing a member of law enforcement was presented to Cpl. Kevin Bell of the Alabama State Troopers. A member of the Selma State Trooper Post, he is a resident of Gallion and his primary duties are in Marengo County.

“He has been exemplary in his work ethic and professionalism. He is self-driven, motivated and dedicated to the mission of reducing fatalities and injuries. He is a consistent top performer at the Selma post,” a nomination for Cpl. Bell stated.

Morris and Bell advance to the district level and could join Smith at the state level.