Cullman VFW honors law enforcement, emergency responders, scouts

Honorees (L-R): Cullman County Sheriff’s Office Captains Robert Schweighart and Jeff Clemons; Steve Turner accepting for his son, Eagle Scout Joseph Turner; Jonathan Haynes accepting for his son, Eagle Scout Noah Haynes; West Point Assistant Fire Chief Roger Tew, EMT Heather Bolling.  Not pictured: Cullman Police officers Bobby Kelley and Jack Springer (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman’s Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2214 Thursday night honored local law enforcement officers, emergency responders and Eagle Scouts at an awards dinner held at the post hall.  

Before dinner, Post Commander Will Harris told the assembled officers and responders that the post’s members made special efforts to recognize such personnel because, as veterans, they had a keen understanding and appreciation of the things first responders do.

Honorees included:

  • West Point Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Roger Tew
  • West Point Fire and Rescue EMT Heather Bolling
  • Cullman County Sheriff’s Office Captain Robert Schweighart
  • Cullman County Sheriff’s Office Captain Jeff Clemons
  • Cullman Police Department Captain Bobby Kelley
  • Cullman Police Department Patrol Officer Jack Springer
  • Eagle Scout Joseph Turner – Steve and Marcie Turner accepted on behalf of their son, who is currently working at Camp Sequoyah.
  • Eagle Scout Noah Haynes – Jonathan Haynes, who is also the troop scoutmaster, accepted on behalf of his son, who is currently working at Camp Steiner in Utah.

Both scouts are members of Troop 219 based at First United Methodist Church in Cullman.  All four law enforcement officers recently retired from their respective agencies.  Kelley and Springer were unable to attend, but will receive their certificates later.

After sharing a personal story about the service of particular emergency responders and law enforcement officers, VFW Vice Commander Mike Elston pointed to groups of sheriff’s deputies and responders around the room and said, “I want to thank you guys, you guys, and you guys for everything that you do, and the compassion with which you do it.  Thank you.”

Harris told the crowd, “Now, I know all of you have been around a lot of sheriff’s departments here in Cullman County.  But this is, hands down, the best group of guys I’ve ever seen, best group of law enforcement officers that I’ve ever seen.  I’ve never lived in a place where the county responds to the citizens the way the county guys do, and the city people.  I’ve known (Police Chief) Kenny Culpepper 25 or 30 years; I knew him before he was your police chief.  It gratifies me to know that we have these dedicated people out there.

“I was talking earlier: there’s very little difference, folks, today, (between) the folks who suit up, get in their car, and go on patrol, and the folks in our combat zones, that are saddling up and going on patrol.  The same dangers exist.  About the only thing you don’t see right now is IEDs, but you see everything else: you see ambushes, you see all kinds of things.  And these guys, along with our veterans, are putting up with the same thing.”

Post officers installed

At the dinner, the VFW post also swore in its officers for the year:

  • Will Harris – commander
  • Mike Elston – sr. vice commander
  • Robert Turner – jr. vice commander
  • Joseph Charles – chaplain
  • Brian Monk – quartermaster
  • Bob Stevens – 3rd year trustee
  • Warren Reppond – 2nd year trustee
  • Candace Reppond – 1st year trustee

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Installation of new and returning post officers (L-R): Bob Stevens – 3rd year trustee, Will Harris – commander, Mike Elston – sr. vice commander, Robert Turner – jr. vice commander, Joseph Charles – chaplain.  Not pictured: Brian Monk – quartermaster, Warren Reppond – 2nd year yrustee, Candace Reppond – 1st year trustee (W.C. Man for The Cullman Tribune)

W.C. Mann