Everyday citizens turned superheroes
June 02, 2010 - No one wakes up and says "Today I am going to experience a tragedy," or "Today, I will come between life and death," says Lake Orion Police Chief Jerry Narsh.
|Community heroes like Paul Martin and Tamera Hanson, who rescued a woman held captive and sexually abused, were honored at the village’s appreciation dinner, May 27. Photos by Megan Collier (click for larger version)|
That's why over 100 village employees and Lake Orion residents gathered, May 27, to honor community members who single-handedly made a difference in a life or death situation, and made an enormous impact on the safety and security of Lake Orion.
"After nearly 30 years at the Lake Orion Police Department, I am now convinced that we have several thousand residents just waiting to be tested, and who will do the right thing. The people of Lake Orion still amaze me, every day," Narsh said.
Two of those people were Paul Martin and Tamera Hanson. The pair rescued a Lake Orion woman who had been held captive, raped and abused by two men in the village for months.
Gregory Latozas, Kelly Leachman, Stephanie Malski, and James and Julie Siwek were recognized for their valiant rescue attempts of 19-year-old Jon Harper, who fell in Lake Orion while boating.
The police chief laughed as he patted Sagebrush Manager Melvin Granderson, describing his careful and swift conflict management with customers in the restaurant. One incident included a patron pressing a knife to Granderson's throat.
Anna Bongiorno and Katie Rose were also honored for their involvement in the Boys and Girls Club and the Kids and Kops program.
Guests got a little tearful as Chief Narsh honored former Chief James Leach, Sr., who began his stint with the police department in 1959 as an auxiliary officer. After a career advancing up the ladder in the department, and rife with personal heartbreak, Leach retired in 2001. He's been working as a part-time officer since.
|Former Police Chief Jim Leach, Sr. was honored for service since 1959. (click for larger version)|
During the evening, Lake Orion Police said farewell to Reserve Sergeant Charles McLaughlin, who retired after 19 years on the reserve force.
The audience gave Lake Orion Police Reserve Officers a standing ovation for collectively contributing well over 3,000 hours of service at no cost to the village.
Seven on the police force contributed 200 or more hours: Reed Brown – 208.5, John Schmitt – 226.5, Commander David Mirku –– 274, Assistant Commander Amy Fong-Kretzmer – 280, Chad Reetz – 426, Sergeant Stephen Bauer – 546.5, and Sergeant Joseph Sare – 547.5.
The police chief and guests applauded dispatcher Joanna Ingoglia, for working toward impressive Law Enforcement Information Network audit results, Officer Chris Mires and Ingoglia, for life saving in an overdose situation, and Mires, again, for good police work in an assault investigation.
Reporter, Lake Orion Review