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2011 PERD Award Winners


Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp presents the Award For Valor to Deputy Jeffery Carpenter.
MAY 6, 2011 -- Jackson County honored 21 employees during the 18th Annual Public Employee Recognition Day ceremony Wednesday, May 4. Sheriff Mike Sharp presented the awards. CLICK on the categories listed here to learn about each award winner:

   Administrative/Professional Service Award

   Clerical Service Award

   Community Service Award

   Leadership Award

   Lifetime Achievement Award

   Military Award

   Public Safety Award

   Team Award

   Technical Service Award

   Trade/Craft Award

   Award For Valor


SaxtonAdministrative/Professional Service Award

Chris Saxton  | Health Supervisor | Public Works Department

Chris initiated a plan review and inspection process for new establishments opening in Jackson County -- steps that have made new-opening inspections easier and more efficient for both inspectors and the establishment owners. Furthermore, he took upon himself to conduct research and select equipment for testing soft-serve ice cream dispensers. Finally, he also developed a process for conducting inspections in accordance with the County's updated Adult Entertainment ordinance.

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Raven HeningerClerical Service Award

Raven Heninger  | Clerk |  Sheriff's Office

Jackson County's 2010 Employee of the Year played a vital role in the Sex Offender Registration Enforcement Unit. First, she helped the unit remain organized in the course of two office relocations during 2010. She has also developed file sorting and scheduling systems to streamline the registration process and to assure that the proper local and state law enforcement agencies are notified. Her attention to detail, in addition to a calm demeanor, have proven essential to the Sex Offender Unit as it registers 30 to 40 offenders a day, assists in criminal investigations and makes arrests.

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Julia FosterCommunity Service Award

Julia Foster  |  Clerk |  Assessment Department

For the last six years, Julia has been active in an array of education organizations focusing on parents, students and school administrators. She currently serves as the School Advisory Committee Chair for Northeast High School. In that role, she fosters open communication between parents and school officials, making sure that parental concerns are properly addressed. Furthermore, she has volunteered -- often in sub-zero weather -- to assist in food drives for the Harvesters Food Network and toy drives for the Marines Toys for Tots program. She's also active in the County's Combined Charities and Earth/AIDS walks fundraisers.

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Bruce WilkeLeadership Award

Bruce Wilke  |  Landscape Architect  |  Parks & Recreation Department

Bruce's skill and artistry are on full display whenever someone drives through Jackson County's parks. In recent years, he has headed up the County's development of an integral part of a regional trail system called, "The Metro Green." Bruce is the key planner for the design and development of the truly unique Little Blue Trace along the Little Blue River. He has done it all from studying contour maps, hiking possible routes and designing the actual trail to overseeing bids and construction details. He also wrote the Transportation Enhancement grant that secured part of the funding for the project.

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Jim KanatzarLifetime Achievement Award

James F. Kanatzar  |  Prosecuting Attorney 
Jackson County Prosecutor's Office

Jim has left a legacy of excellent service to Jackson County as he leaves his post as County Prosecutor to become a Missouri 16th Circuit Court judge. He began his legal career as a law clerk in the Jackson County Counselor's Office before joining the Prosecutor's Drug Abatement Response Team (DART). He then began prosecuting cases for the Jackson County Drug Task Force and later served as a trial team leader, supervising attorneys in the Domestic Violence Unit. He eventually became the Chief Warrant Officer for eastern Jackson County, Chief Trial Assistant over various trial teams and Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney. He was appointed County Prosecutor in January of 2007 and was elected to the office in 2008.

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Jacob GanttMilitary Award

Jacob Gantt  |  Corrections Officer  |  Corrections Department

Jacob joined the Army Reserve in February of 2008, six months before becoming a Jackson County Corrections Officer. In February of 2010, he was deployed with the 414th Military Police Company for a one-year tour of duty in Afghanistan. He was assigned to a POW Detention Facility, was promoted to Specialist (SPC 4) and is now awaiting submissions of his Sergeant promotional packet. His duties in Afghanistan entailed monitoring dangerous high-profile detainees, including their transportation to other prisons. His duties involved traveling through hostile territories, and his duty station was consistently targeted for attack.

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Public Safety Award

Park Rangers

Park Rangers Mitchell Bloss, Richard Wright and Anne Geary (Not Pictured), and Dispatcher Dana Mack
Parks & Recreation Department

Despite being off duty, Park Ranger Dispatcher Dana C. Mack called the on-duty supervisor June 19, 2010, to point out severe storms featuring high winds, lightning and possibly hail were about to strike the parks. Several Rangers notified park patrons of the inclement weather, and during the storm, Rangers Mitchell Bloss and Richard Wright took the patrol boat onto the waters of Lake Jacomo to rescue individuals from two capsized sailboats. At the same time, Ranger Anne Geary helped Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Cory Bradshaw bring ashore capsized boaters at Longview Lake. Thanks to the actions of these Rangers and Trooper Bradshaw lives in peril were saved.

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Team Award WinnersTeam Service Award

Highway Clean-up Team: Chriss Howard, Tom Mullen, Judith Twitchell and Ryan McCord. Not pictured: Chrissy Combs, Brian Hearn and Susan Moore.

This group of employees volunteers one day every three months to pick up trash along a section of Highway 291 in eastern Jackson County -- a stretch of road they have taken care of the last five years. On a typical clean-up day, they'll gather up 12 to 15 bags of trash and another one or two bags of recyclable materials.

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Megan MinniearTechnical Service Award

Megan Minniear  |  Administrative Assistant/Autopsy Aide  |  Medical Examiner's Office

In February of 2009, Megan began her career at the ME's Office as a Forensic Technician (FT), a position that entails assisting pathologists with body examinations, autopsy procedures and collecting toxicology specimens, as well as other evidence. Megan's other duties include ordering/restocking supplies, cleaning the autopsy suite and completing routine digital X-rays and dental X-rays. Her willingness to learn innovative radiology techniques to perform "in-house" X-rays has saved the County $80,000 a year that was previously spent on contracted services. In 2010, she has gone above and beyond her required duties to broaden the public services of the ME's Office, including participating in mass fatality training and the search/excavation of skeletal remains.

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William AshurstTrade/Craft Award

William Ashurst  |  Electrician  |  Public Works Department

In 2010 the Facilities Management Division received enough funding through an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant to install high-efficiency lighting in the Jackson County Election Board offices in Independence. Bill did the installation of the lighting, but also did some research into rebates that Independence Power & Light (IPL) was offering for energy-saving projects. He contacted IPL and discovered the upgrades at the Election Board offices warranted a $4,730 rebate -- nearly half the cost of the entire installation project.

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Jeffery CarpenterAward For Valor

Jeffery Carpenter  |  Deputy |  Sheriff's Office

On January 4, 2011, Independence Police officers were chasing a Ford Ranger driven by an individual suspected of committing a homicide in Carrollton, Missouri. The officers contacted the Jackson County Sheriff's Office for assistance. Deputy Carpenter quickly responded and found himself and the Ranger approaching an intersection from different directions. The Ranger's driver had already rammed an Independence Police vehicle, injuring the sergeant driving it. Although the Ranger was mechanically disabled, momentum kept the truck moving toward Deputy Carpenter, who exited his patrol car, drew his handgun and shouted for the suspect to stop. When the suspect pointed a shotgun at him, Deputy Carpenter fired his gun, striking the Ranger's windshield. The gunfire caused the suspect to stop, and Deputy Carpenter then provided cover while Independence Police officers secured the suspect's arrest. Deputy Carpenter's quick response and disregard for his own personal safety brought a potentially deadly ordeal to an abrupt and safe end. The suspect has since been charged.

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