Civic group presents First Responder awards

Top officers named for police, fire and sheriff's department

AMORY, MISS. (WCBI) – First responders put their lives on the line every day and a civic group in one city is recognizing top cops, deputies, and firefighters.

Smokin Bros was probably the safest place in Monroe County as police, sheriff’s deputies, and firefighters packed into the restaurant, for a special meeting of the Rotary Club of Amory.

“We’re so appreciative of our officers, the relationships we have with them, that they show up when we need them the most,  and we’re grateful we can recognize them in this fashion with the awards ceremony,” said Joe Brennan, of the Rotary Club of Amory.

For ten years now, the Rotary Club of Amory has recognized the top police officer and firefighters.  This year, the sheriff’s department was included.

And while there have been ties before, this year, there was a tie for sheriff’s deputy, with Investigator Jim Ed Riggan and Deputy Kyle Knight sharing the honor.

“It means a lot, coming from my peers, the ones I work with,” said Deputy Kyle Knight.

“I like helping people,  it’s a humbling experience,” said MCSO Investigator Jim Ed Riggan.

There was also a tie for top firefighter, between Nick McDaniel and Justin Garza.

“It’s an amazing award, amazing accomplishment, so proud to be selected, lot of hard work, time away from my family,   extremely excited to receive it,”  said Garza.

“Proud to be here beside Justin as well, another great firefighter in the department like the rest of the guys,” said McDaniel.

Police officer of the year went to Jacob McCollum, who originally was pursuing an engineering degree until he has a talk with Amory Police Chief Ronnie Bowen.

“Was praying about it, talked to Chief, when I was working at a furniture place, I proceeded with it, graduated with a degree in law enforcement, now I’m here and I love my job,” said Officer McCollum.

What makes these awards so special is the recipients are chosen by their peers, those who work with them day in and day out, protecting and serving.

The Rotary Club provides ballots each January to deputies, firefighters, and police officers, for the first responder awards.

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