“We don’t do this enough, we don’t say thank you enough, we don’t acknowledge your hard work enough.”
That was Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati, speaking last week at the Midstate Chamber of Commerce’s annual Health, Wellness and Safety Day.
And he’s right — we don’t do enough, on a regular basis, to recognize the readiness, professionalism and hard work of the police officers, firefighters and ambulance personnel who keep our communities safe. But Monday’s event at the Westfield Meriden mall allowed a moment to be set aside to show appreciation for a small sampling of those people.
Three first responders and a private citizen were singled out:
Cristina Blanco Schoeck, a city firefighter since 2002, has also served as a fire service instructor at Eastern Connecticut State University and a CPR instructor. The fire department posted congratulations on its Facebook page. “A fine example of how our firefighters are involved in many ways helping the community,” the post states.
Donna Zurstadt, a Meriden police officer was recognized for investigating traffic incidents and her knowledge of motor vehicle laws.
Hunter’s Ambulance paramedic Stephen Van Dyke was praised for the positive feedback he has received for his work.
“Everyone in their vocation is so humble, because it is their duty to serve in their department,” said David Lowell, Hunter’s Ambulance executive vice president and the event’s co-chairman. “It goes to the quality of the individuals in our service departments here in the city to have that characteristic.”
Sue Willette, a substance abuse prevention advocate, received the Dan M. Hunter Good Samaritan Award for her “significant impacts in promoting public health and safety in the community.”
These are people who make the city a better place to live, and the chamber and the mayor were right to honor them.
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