A civilian who assisted Fairfax County Police officers in apprehending a shoplifting suspect, a detective who took a simple credit card case and followed it until it resulted in uncovering a nationwide conspiracy and an officer who took a runaway teen under his wing were among those honored Friday by the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce at its Valor Awards Breakfast.
The event recognizes first responders in the Greater Springfield area who go beyond their job description to provide exemplary service to the community.
More than 100 businessmen and businesswomen, first responders and elected officials attended the breakfast at the Springfield Golf and Country Club. Staci Redmon, president of Strategy and Management Services Inc. (SAMS), served as master of ceremonies. Col. Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Fairfax County police chief, presented the keynote speech.
Roessler noted Fairfax County is the safest jurisdiction of its size in the United States while maintaining the lowest officer-to-resident ratio of any major U.S. city.
“However, there is no magic formula to the Police Department in and of itself to have that low crime rate,” he said. “We are blessed that this word ‘engagement’ is throughout Fairfax County because engagement helps us prevent and fight crime.” In addition to engagement with community groups such as the Greater Springfield and other chambers, Roessler credited the Police Department’s close relationships with the Sheriff’s Office and Fire and Rescue Department for keeping the county safe.
The awards were presented in four categories: Lifesaving Award, Certificate of Valor, Meritorious Civilian Award and Unit Citation.
The Lifesaving Award was presented to Fairfax County Police Private First Class Robert Marshall, who, at great personal risk, prevented a subject from dying of suicide.
Certificates of Valor went to three recipients, including Detective Angelena Griffiths of the West Springfield Criminal Investigations Section, who maintains the highest successful closure rate among all property crimes detectives in the entire county and is responsible for uncovering the nationwide stolen credit card conspiracy. Also honored in this category was Fairfax County Police Officer Andrew Zelms of the West Springfield District Station, who took a runaway teen under his wing and kept him safe, warm and fed until he could be reunited with his Maryland social worker. The third honoree was Master Tech Hyun Lee, probationary trainer at Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s Fire Station 427, who is credited with training new recruits to the highest standards.
Volunteer In Police Service (VIPS) Dave Saunders and Eric Oginsky received the Meritorious Civilian Awards. Saunders received the honor for the countless hours he volunteers at the West Springfield District Station. Oginsky was honored for helping Fairfax County police safely apprehend a shoplifting suspect at the Springfield Town Center.
The Chamber awarded three Unit Citations: A Sheriff’s Office team that secured a facility during an active shooter call, Lt. Ilsa Blaney, head of the Fairfax County Police Department’s highly effective West Springfield District Criminal Investigations Section, and the Fairfax County Police Department’s Christmas Anti-Theft Team (CATT), which kept the Springfield Town Center safe during the 2018 holiday shopping season.
Jessica Walters, chair of the Greater Springfield Chamber Board of Directors, presented plaques and certificates to the honorees.
For more information about the Chamber, visit springfieldchamber.org.