FALLBROOK – An annual California Highway Patrol (CHP)/Fire/Sheriff of the Year Awards Ceremony was held last month as part of the weekly luncheon meeting of the Rotary Club of Fallbrook. Each year, the club joins with the Fallbrook Village and Bonsall Rotary clubs, the Soroptimists, and Kiwanis, to honor the outstanding individuals from, and selected by the North County CHP, Fire, and Sheriff departments.
James Gaffney was named CHP Officer of theYear. Captain Deb Schroder, commander of the Oceanside CHP office, introduced Honoree Gaffney to the overflow gathering. The honor ranks Gaffney, 10 1/2 years with the CHP, No. 1 of 84 officers.
Gaffney, a graduate of S.D. City College, spent 11 years in the U.S. Navy before joining the CHP. Kimberly Gaffney, wife of the honoree and mother of triplets, joined husband James for the ceremony. Gaffney received a commemorative plaque and a perpetual plaque with his name added was given to Captain Schroder for display in the CHP offices pending next year’s addition.
Firefighter and paramedic Ben Lian with the North County Fire Department was selected by his peers as their 2010 Fireman of the Year. North County Fire Chief Bill Metcalf, a member of the Bonsall Rotary Club, spoke eloquently on behalf of Ben Lian, who was unable to attend the ceremony. Accepting the commemorative plaque on behalf of Lian was Battalion Chief Don Stevens. A perpetual plaque with Lian’s name added was given to Chief Metcalf to hang in the North County Fire Department office.
Deputy Sheriff John Klimek, assigned to the Fallbrook Sheriff’s Substation, was a unanimous decision for the 2010 Deputy Sheriff of the Year. Lieutenant Phil Brust, commanding officer for the substation, introduced Klimek at the Beverly Manor at the Grand Tradition.
Klimek, a 27 year Master Gunnery Sergeant and US Marine Corp veteran, was lauded by Lt. Brust for his outstanding performance, citing his 27 DUI arrests, 71 felony cases, and 33 convictions as evidence of an above-average individual.
Klimek was joined at the luncheon ceremony by his wife of 27 years, Norma Klimek, father James and mother Clementine Klimek. Klimek received a commemorative plaque for his honor, and a perpetual plaque with Klimek’s name added was given to Lt. Brust to hang in the Fallbrook office.
The guest speaker for the day’s events was Ralph Partridge, Special Agent in Charge, S.D. Field Division, U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, who spoke on the state of and progress against drugs and related crime issues in the San Diego region.