KANSAS CITY, MO. – A group of courageous corrections officers, a woman who has dedicated her life to the parks system and two parks rangers who helped save the life of car-crash victim were among the Jackson County workers honored at the Public Employee Recognition Day (PERD) ceremony Tuesday in the Little Theatre at Municipal Auditorium.
The first full week of May (May 3-9, 2015) is National Public Service Recognition Week.
“Each day I see firsthand how the pride our employees take in doing their jobs is reflected in the quality of their work,” Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders said. “The individuals we are recognizing consistently strive to meet and exceed the highest expectations. In doing so, they are continually raising the standard of excellence.”
He added, “The employees we are honoring here this afternoon are but a handful of the hundreds who can proudly say, ‘I work for Jackson County, Missouri.’”
Twenty-three Jackson County employees were presented awards in 10 different categories during the 22nd Annual PERD Ceremony. Workers from the City of Kansas City, Mo., and from local federal government offices were also honored.
County Corrections officers Thomas Osburn, Lemuel Smith and Jason Hays received the Distinguished Public Safety Team Award for their roles in subduing a violent outburst by a defendant during a court appearance last June. The defendant, on trial for multiple murder charges and restrained only by a leg brace — at the request of the court — leapt from his seat and began attacking his own attorney.
Officers Osburn, Smith and Hays kept their cool. They quickly subdued the inmate, who was returned to his jail cell. Neither the defendant nor anyone else was seriously harmed. Parks + Rec Director Michele Newman received the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for her 30-year career of public service to Jackson County. She has gone from Senior Adult Division Supervisor to Superintendent of Marketing & Public Relations to being named Director of Parks + Rec in 2007. Jackson County has the third-largest county parks system in the nation.
Newman’s achievements include helping make Jackson County’s Christmas In The Park one of the region’s most popular holiday attractions. She has worked to make the event bigger and better each year, dating back to the very first Christmas In The Park in 1988. Christmas In The Park attracts more than 200,000 visitors each year and has raised more than $1 million for local charities.
Park Rangers Shawn Payne and Mitch Bloss received the Distinguished Valor Award for helping save a young woman who crashed her car in Blue Springs Lake Park in January.While on routine patrol, Rangers Payne and Bloss spotted a vehicle off the road, flipped on its roof in a wooded area of the park. They found a young woman unresponsive inside the locked vehicle, so they carefully broke and removed the windshield to get to her. They checked the driver’s pulse and got her emergency medical attention.
“The young woman survived,” County Executive Sanders noted, “thanks in no small part to the vigilance of Rangers Payne and Bloss.”
The other Jackson County employees receiving awards included:
•John Peterson, Parks + Rec Historic Sites Curator -- Distinguished Administrative/Professional Award
•Nickola Taylor, Human Resources -- Distinguished Clerical Award
•Laci Beavers, COMBAT Communications and Marketing Liaison -- Distinguished Community Service Award
•Danielle Fitzgerald, Corrections Department -- Distinguished Military Award
•Austin Briggs, Chris Jenkins, Kirk Phillips and Glenn Brainard, Public Works -- Distinguished Team Award
•Robert Wright, Frank Fisher, Tracy Bosley, Cynthia Pitts, John Vaughn, Daniel Stringer and Matthew Bales, all Parks + Rec; and Jason Small, Information Technology -- Distinguished Technical Award
•Craig Braden, Corrections Department -- Distinguished Trade Craft Award