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Honoring those who protect and serve

By Staff | May 14, 2013

The Cape Coral Police Department honored 12 of its finest for going above and beyond the call of duty during its awards ceremony Tuesday at the CCPD.

The awards were presented for officers’ heroic deeds that occurred between November and May, according to Lt. Anthony Sizemore, and the recipients were nominated by their peers.

“If they see good work that exceeds expectations, you can nominate them. It doesn’t have to be a department head nominating a subordinate,” Sizemore said, adding the recommendations go before a committee.

The ceremony was attended by Chief Jay Murphy, who praised the work the men in blue do “in spite of him,” and Councilmembers Lenny Nesta, Rana Erbrick and Kevin McGrail, as well as family members of those being feted.

Four officers received commendations, three for one incident. Sgt. Brian Hite and officers Keith Nabozny and Raymond Schilke III were awarded for their roles in saving a woman who was nearly beaten to death by her boyfriend.

A fourth, Morgan Bessette, earned her award for performing CPR on a man and keeping him alive long enough to get him to the hospital, though he later succumbed to his injuries.

The department named two officers of the quarter, Daniel Leger and Andrew Miller, who were both vital in apprehending a burglar who broke into a jewelry shop and stole $40,000 worth of items in the early morning hours.

The department handed out three life-saving awards. Joshua Morgan was feted for saving a 16-month old girl who was drowning after falling into a swimming pool.

“There’s no time to think in that situation, you have to help the kid, and thankfully she was able to throw up some water,” Morgan said, who was around the corner when the call time, allowing him to arrive moments later. “We have a great group of guys and we do this every night.”

Officer Justin Hearn rescued an 88-year-old woman who was stuck in her house during a fire, and Officer Steven Scrobe saved a man from death by performing CPR despite the ravings of a hysterical woman who found him lying there.

“It’s very meaningful. It’s nice to be recognized for what we do,” Scrobe said.

The Chief’s Special Recognition Award, which goes to an officer or officers who go above and beyond in community service, went to Master Cpls. Michael Christensen, William Columbia and Kelvin Thompkins, who continued a program to collect toys in a Coast Guard boat at Wal-Mart after a previous officer could no longer do it.

For Murphy, it was three guys who wanted to keep something going, so they went the extra mile, as did the other award recipients.

“We didn’t ask them to do that. They did it on their own. They asked to use the department’s name and represent the department,” Murphy said. “That’s what’s important.”

“We have an extraordinary bunch of people that truly care what they’re doing for the city,” Murphy said. “These people are vested in this community and that makes a difference. You don’t always get that in bigger cities.”