Taylorsville City honors volunteers, employees, businesses and residents
A city obviously doesn’t run on its own. The daily tasks of organization, development, safety and camaraderie require work and devotion. Often, those dedicating time to these responsibilities are employees of the city, performing their duties to the best of their ability. Other times, residents or businesses shoulder a task and become part of the inner workings of city life.
Taylorsville recognized each of these aspects, honoring employees, businesses and residents at an awards dinner held on March 23. City officials presented awards to those who, throughout 2011, showed a commitment to the city in various ways.
Detective Troy Martinez was one honored that night. Since 2005, Martinez has been part of the Taylorsville Police Department, with duties in multiple crime prevention areas. He currently serves as an investigator of child sex crimes, for which he won the Officer of the Year. He said it’s an award that has more to do with the children he helps than the part he plays.
“The kids, they do everything. I interview them and get it down on paper for them, he said” Martinez works relentlessly to put those responsible for hurting children behind bars. In 2011, Martinez cleared 178 out of 181 cases assigned. “I didn’t realize the numbers I had. I just take it one case at a time, and each comes with the satisfaction of helping kids and families. The smiles on faces when we help get attackers mean a lot to me.”
Two Taylorsville residents were awarded the Meritorious Action by a Citizen for coming to the aid of two attack victims. When Michael Gull and Marlene Bolt discovered the aftermath of an assault along the bike trail of the Jordan River, Bolt aided the victims while Gull chased after people they’d seen sprinting from the scene. He wasn’t able to find them, but did come across three additional witnesses who were later able to speak with police.
“Anybody would have done the same thing, I think,” Gull said. Bolt and Gull assisted police on the day of the attack and continued helping the District Attorney’s office when the suspects came to trial. In addition, Bolt and Gull kept track of the trial, attending court hearings to support the victims’ families. “There was a reason we were on that trail. We were just meant to be able to help out,” Bolt said.
Two police officers were honored that evening as well, for Meritorious Service in the Line of Duty. Officers Shannon Bennett and Grayson Van Leeuwen were both awarded for performance of duty. In responding to an emergency call regarding a shooting, the officers noticed the suspect fleeing. They were able to locate him behind a restaurant and after a difficult struggle apprehended him. Following investigations, it was discovered the suspect had shot and killed his victim.
“We were lucky we were at the right place at the right time. This guy needed to be off the streets and in jail,” Bennett said. Van Leeuwen had only been out on patrol for three weeks when the incident occurred. “I don’t know if I can top that (experience). I had a great teacher there,” he said.
Two volunteers were honored with Outstanding Community Service as a Volunteer, Roger Barker and Lee Yates. Barker is a member of the Historic Preservation Committee and active participant at the Taylorsville-Bennion heritage center, where his acting background is put to good use.
“He makes an excellent story teller and helps the tours come alive,” said fellow committee member Joan White.Yates has served as chair of the Economic Development Committee for the past year.
“He has asked many questions in his efforts to understand how committee members can effectively add to the ongoing efforts of staff to strengthen, revitalize, enhance, and improve Taylorsville,” said Ernest Burgess, a member of the city council.
One award given during the ceremony was the Legacy Award which went to Sherri Winder. As a key player in the incorporation of Taylorsville in 1994, Winder organized many of the means by which information was given to people. She answered questions, many times meeting people in their homes and speaking with media.
“Her hard work helped in incorporation of Taylorsville-Bennion pass by an overwhelming 70 percent of the vote, enabling a city of 60,000 residents to control their own destiny,” Mayor Russ Wall said. Winder passed away last year after a car accident and the award was accepted by her children.
Other awards that night included the following: Outstanding Service to the city was awarded to Capt. Brian Gale of fire station 118 in Taylorsville. He has worked for the city for 23 years. Supervisor of the Year was given to Mark McGrath, Community Development Director for the city. Outstanding Business Contribution was given to the Walmart located on 5400 South and Redwood Rd. Utah State Senate President Michael Waddoups received the Meritorious Service to the Community as a Legislator. The U.S. Marshals Service Joint Criminal Apprehension Team was awarded as Outstanding Service Provider. Employee of the Year went to Lisa Schwartz, Emergency Response Coordinator for Taylorsville.
On hand to present awards were members of the city council, city administrators and youth council members.