The Knights of Columbus of Seton Parish, Pickerington Council No. 11187, paid tribute to area safety forces April 27 by holding its 11th Annual "Blue Coat Award Dinner."
"We honor the Pickerington Police Department, the Fairfield County Sheriff's Office and the Violet Township Fire Department every year," said George Schneider, the organization's Grand Knight.
Schneider said the event provides an opportunity to simply "show appreciation for all the branches" whose members protect and serve area residents.
Blue Coat Award event-organizer Ron Blymire said the event drew about 70 police and fire personnel to Seton's Parish Activity Center for an evening of food and fellowship.
Blymire said every year one member from each agency is presented with the Blue Coat Award to recognize excellence in service.
Award-winners are nominated by their own departments, he said.
The 2013 Blue Coat Award winners include:
* Deputy George Carsey, Fairfield County Sheriff's Office.
Carsey is the 2012 Fairfield County Deputy of the Year in recognition of his hard work and efforts on 3rd shift.
According to Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen, Carsey made almost 400 traffic stops, arrested 11 OVI drivers and made 30 other arrests in 2012.
Sheriff's Office officials specifically praised Carsey for his role in an arrest of a nighttime burglar in the Millersport area that helped solve numerous other crimes.
In addition, Carsey arrested an armed robbery suspect in Perry County.
* Officer James Gallagher, Pickerington Police Department.
Gallagher has been described as an exemplary employee and a tremendous asset to the department, said Police Commander Greg Annis.
"Officer Gallagher has been an integral part of the Pickerington Police Department's anti-drug efforts, having been involved in numerous drug-related arrests including a traffic stop in July 2010 that led to a 1,200 pound drug seizure from a local residence," Annis said.
Gallagher was lauded for his efforts in reviving the department's K-9 program in 2009 and 2010 when he and his dog, "Shadow" were fully certified by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission.
He also was credited, along with Officer Dean Brown, for saving a man's life in March of 2011 by performing CPR in a medical emergency.
* Ron Gibson, Violet Township Fire Department.
A senior firefighter at Station 592 on 2-unit, Gibson "serves as a mentor not only to the newest of personnel, but also to many of our veterans," said Fire Chief John Eisel.
Gibson serves on numerous committees within the organization, including the Safety and Special Events Committees.
He also was instrumental in organizing the Doug Barr Memorial Golf Outing.
Eisel said Gibson brings an enthusiastic approach to training to the department, which both motivates and educates his fellow crew members.
"He single-handedly developed the '6-minute training drills,' a program that is used daily by all of our personnel," Eisel said.
"Rob has a passion for this profession, and it really shows in everything he does," he said.