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The Stories Behind our Public Safety Heroes

October 10, 2014

As a tribute to our Public Safety Award winners, Chamber INK has featured the stories behind their nominations. Today, we’re sharing the acts of heroism that led Detective Tom Bastis and Officer Charles Vill to earn the Distinguished Achievement Award and the Medal of Valor.

Distinguished Achievement Award
Detective Tom Bastis, Cobb County Police Department
Nominated by SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center, Inc.

Detective Tom Bastis has worked for the Cobb County Police Department since 2003, serving over 5 ½ of those years within the Crimes Against Children Unit. As a Senior Detective, Tom Bastis is known for his professional demeanor, his warm smile and for the meticulous care he puts into each of his cases. Detective Bastis consistently presents himself at the utmost level of professionalism, and his sound judgment and objective approach has gained the trust and respect of his peers.
Detective Bastis persistently initiates activities to promote team building and encourage team morale. Also known as the “Grill Master”, Detective Bastis always has something cooking to positively build camaraderie, promote cooperation and collaboration among the team.
Every day Detective Bastis has the responsibility of making life-changing decisions to protect children in the community; often times putting his life in harm’s way for these young victims. This is a responsibility that Detective Bastis takes to heart and has made it his personal mission to go beyond the call of duty to ensure successful prosecution of those who commit the most serious and heinous crimes against children.
Detective Bastis has been praised by his peers for his conscientious efforts to consider the broader prospective of how each child victim is impacted, objectively viewing the facts and putting the needs of the child first above all else. When fellow detectives were asked to share their thoughts of Detective Bastis they say “Tom believes in getting it done… and done right…the first time.”

 

Medal of Valor
Officer Charles Vill
Nominated by Lt. Matthew D. Hurst

Since joining the police department, Officer Vill has been a leader among his peers in work ethic and drive. Despite his limited experience, he leads his shift in proactive, self-initiated criminal apprehension and enforcement activity. He is also a dependable and well liked team minded officer who supports his fellow officers and the mission of the shift and the department.
Prior to the winter holidays, Officer Vill annually speaks at Southern Polytechnic University for Greek Life. He speaks to the new students on the legal, educational and social consequences related to abuse of alcohol and drugs. Officer Vill volunteers to provide this service off duty, as a service to his community.

As a highly proactive officer, Officer Vill frequently parks his patrol car and walks high crime neighborhoods and business areas on foot. He makes contacts with multiple citizens and frequently thwarts criminal activity and apprehends felons. He interrupted a burglary in progress in June 2013.

On February 4th, 2014 Officer Vill was shot five times by the driver of a vehicle he pulled over. Despite being seriously wounded, he maintained his tactical awareness. He acted quickly, moving to cover out of the line of fire, maintained control and provided clear and accurate descriptions and directions over the radio that ultimately led to the capture of his assailant.
Since being shot in the line of duty, Officer Vill has endured a painful and physically and emotionally challenging recovery. He remains tenaciously committed and fiercely determined to return to his duties policing the streets of Cobb County despite the many challenges ahead of him.

 

 

Learn about our Public Safety Nominees and Winners

October 8, 2014

In honor of Public Safety Appreciation Week, we’re sharing some of the amazing stories related to our Public Safety Award nominees and winners. Today, we’re putting the spotlight on our Award of Merit winners: Officer Paul Reynolds and Officer Tom Rooney.

Officer Paul Reynolds
Marietta Police Department

Chief Dan Flynn nominated Officer Reynolds due to the quick-thinking and care and concern he exhibited during this call.

On January 30th, 2014 Officer Reynolds responded to a “person shot” call on South Marietta Parkway and White Avenue. Once on scene Officer Reynolds located the victim, a young woman who was seven month pregnant. The woman had been shot in the leg and was experiencing blood loss. The bullet struck the woman’s femur, causing a displaced fracture.
Instead of holding the scene and waiting for Fire/Rescue to arrive, Officer Reynolds took action. He retrieved a military-style ratchet tourniquet that he carries as part of his everyday equipment. Officer Reynolds used training learned in the U.S. Army and applied the tourniquet with enough pressure to get the bleeding under control. It was later learned that the pressure Officer Reynolds used was not only enough to control the bleeding, but it also moved the femur back into place. The woman was transported to WellStar Kennestone Hospital where she, and her unborn baby, were listed in stable condition.
Officer Reynolds quick action in treating the woman’s injury reflects his dedicated professionalism in the field. The training and experience he received while in the U.S. Army (and reinforced in recent MPD training) was no doubt responsible for his ability to treat the serious injury. Officer Reynolds’ actions reflect great credit upon him and the Marietta Police Department.

Officer Tom Rooney
Smyrna Police Department

Lt. Mike Conti and Sgt. Rick James nominated Officer Rooney for going beyond the call of duty during an apartment fire call.

On November 28, 2013 at approximately 2:55 a.m. Officer Rooney responded to the Mission Galleria apartments in reference to an apartment fire. Upon his arrival, he found building #36 had visible flames coming from the roof of the building. Putting his own safety aside, Rooney began evacuating the building – going door-to-door – as the building become more fully involved with flames and smoke. Officers David Gould, David Snively and Chris Flowers assisted Officer Rooney in the life saving support. All the officers were heroic in saving citizens lives that morning, but they advised Officer Rooney went over and above their efforts. Due to his act of heroism, at least 17 lives were saved from #36 building.

Celebrate Cobb’s Public Safety Heroes

October 7, 2014
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This week marks the 20th celebration of the Cobb Chamber’s Public Safety Breakfast and Public Safety Appreciation Week. On Monday 575 business and public safety professionals gathered to kick off our appreciation week festivities and honor the Public Safety Award nominees and winners. During the breakfast, Deputy Chief Tim Cox of the Cobb County Police Department discussed the team response to the active shooter incident at FedEx in April. Attendees were encouraged to reach out to their local law enforcement agencies and to devise their own emergency response plans.

Ross Cavitt, Cobb Bureau Chief for WSB TV Channel 2 Action News, served as the awards emcee, honoring each of the nominees and presented the 2014 Public Safety Awards. Nominations were received from public safety agencies throughout Cobb County, including police, fire, sheriff’s office, campus police, EMS, the National Park Service and the Georgia National Guard.

Congratulations to our 2014 Public Safety Award winners:

2014 Public Safety Employee of the Year
Agent Kyle Arnold, Acworth Police Department

The Public Safety Employee of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has performed their job with exceptional skill, exhibited leadership and critical incident management. Agent Kyle Arnold of the Acworth Police Department has served in public safety for 12 years.

The Acworth Police Department has a reputation as a leader in community involvement. This is entirely due to the dedication of their officers, and while Agent Arnold stands out in many areas, his work in the community is one of his strongest attributes.

Law enforcement officers can be expected to follow the orders of their supervisors, but the test of a great officer is initiative. Agent Arnold owns his job and has taken the initiative to improve the delivery of public safety in every position he has been in with the Acworth Police Department.

Agent Arnold is currently assigned to MCS Narcotics, and he is one of the first entry officers when serving high-risk warrants. The nature of his position puts him in constant risk and it has been noted that he embraces it with the enthusiasm of a rookie, but with the presence of mind and professionalism of a seasoned veteran.

Award of Merit

The Award of Merit recognizes an individual for an act of courage, demonstrating genuine care and concern for the citizens of the community and going above and beyond the call of duty, often resulting in a life being saved. There were two deserving recipients this year.

Congratulations to the following:

  • Officer Paul Reynolds of Marietta Police Department
  • Officer Tom Rooney of Smyrna Police Department

Distinguished Achievement Award

The Distinguished Achievement Award recognizes an individual whose service and performance has exceeded the demands of the job. Congratulations to the 2014 award recipient Detective Tom Bastis of Cobb County Police Department.

Medal of Valor

The Medal of Valor is the highest award recognizing an individual for an act of bravery in a life-threatening situation. The award is only presented when a deserving candidate is found. This year, the Medal of Valor was presented to Police Officer Charles Vill of the Cobb County Police Department.

 

Join us at Chamber INK throughout the week to read profiles on each of our Public Safety Award nominees! And, if you get a moment, find a way to show your appreciate for our local public safety agencies! #Cobbappreciates

Join with “Friends for the East Cobb Park, Inc.” for the East Cobb Wine & Vine Market

October 3, 2014

2014WineVineMarket

 

Hosted by the East Cobb Civitan Club and benefitting Friends for the East Cobb Park, this year’s East Cobb Wine & Vine Market will take place on Thursday, Oct. 16, at 6 p.m. at the Olde Town Athletic Club.  This year’s speakers include Georgia’s Attorney General, Sam Olens and Cobb Commission Chair Tim Lee who will serve as honorary co-chairs of the largest fundraising activity for both the East Cobb Civitans and Friends for the East Cobb Park. Tickets are $25 and include appetizers. Guest must be at least 21 years old.

This is the 23rd year for this Silent Auction and Wine Tasting Fundraiser and to date, this “Wine & Vine Market” has raised over $141,000.00 for East Cobb Park and well over $200,000 for local charities such as MUST Ministries, The Center for Family Resources, The Center for Children and Young Adults, as well as, Civitan’s Charities such as Camp Big Heart – a camp for children and young adults with special needs. The Civitans helped spearhead a program with the Georgia Ballet in offering a new “Dance Abilities” class for special needs students.

The Wine Shop at Parkaire provides the wine reps, who bring at least 20 different wines to taste.  The local community provides donated items for the silent auction. Nearly 100 items will be up for bid including gift certificates to local restaurants and entertainment, Glock pistols and a week’s stay in Croatia, Antigua, Tuscany or an African Safari.

There is also a “split the pot” raffle.  Tickets are $10 and on sale now.  The lucky winner will be chosen during this event. With a potential pot of $5,000, your odds are much better than any lottery!

For more information about the East Cobb Wine & Vine Market, visit eastcobbcivitan.org or eastcobbpark.org.

Walmart Awards MUST $100,000 Grant to Fight Hunger

October 2, 2014

MustMinistriesWalmart and the Walmart Foundation announced giving more than $54 million in cash and in-kind contributions to charitable organizations throughout Georgia, including $100,000 to MUST Ministries. “Walmart is excited to continue helping the communities we serve,” said Glen Wilkins, director of public affairs and government relations at Walmart.

MUST is applying the contribution to the extensive feeding program at the 43-yr.-old charity. According to Dr. Ike Reighard, President and CEO of MUST, the financial support will provide critical dollars for helping the thousands of clients who rely on MUST for food.

“MUST distributes just under a ton of food every week day through our food pantries,” Reighard explained. Pantries in Marietta, Smyrna and Canton hand out groceries to those in need. In addition free breads and sweets are distributed daily at those locations and at the homeless campus.

The MUST feeding program also includes holiday meals and Thanksgiving boxes. Plus, 77,000 meals are served annually at the Loaves and Fishes Community Kitchen. Shelter clients eat breakfast and lunch there each weekday, and all three meals on weekends. Weekday lunches are open to anyone who is hungry. The feeding program is a vital part of the $8.2 million charity’s programming.

Reighard said MUST is also grateful to some individual Walmart stores who have made cash donations in the past. “Walmart is focused on addressing hunger relief and so are we. The partnership is ideal because they help supply the funds and we implement the programs. We are deeply grateful to Walmart for their generosity to the 31,000 people a year we serve.”

Walmart is operating globally, but giving back locally to make a significant social impact. MUST serves in eight counties and helps those recovering from poverty by providing basic needs of life, including food, housing, employment services and clothing.

For more information about MUST Ministries, visit mustministries.org.

Inaugural South Cobb BBQ & Blues Fest Coming to Riverside EpiCenter

October 1, 2014

SC-BBQ-Blues-Logox400The first ever South Cobb BBQ & Blues Fest will take place on Oct. 10 & 11 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Riverside EpiCenter. The entire family is invited come out for this highly anticipated event featuring some of the best barbecue and Blues music around. The price of admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children under 12 years old.

Attendees will enjoy live entertainment provided by locally and nationally recognized Blues artists, tasty food, exciting raffles and kids zone that’s sure to be fun for the whole family.

The barbecue competition will be officially sanctioned by the Georgia Barbecue Association. Professional BBQ cooks from around the country, including Big Moe Cason, Michael Character and Robby Royal from the hit television show, BBQ Pitmasters, will be competing for over $11,000 dollars in cash and prizes. There will be additional prizes and payouts for competitors in the amateur competition.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Amateur Advocate Association,  a nonprofit organization whose goal is to serve after-school programs in the South Cobb area.

For more information about the South Cobb BBQ & Blues Fest, visit www.southcobbbbq.com.

 

Kennesaw State University to Host Invisible to Visible Fundraising Reception

September 30, 2014

Nationally over 58,000 students reported on their 2012-2013 FAFSA they were struggling with homelessness issues. Since August 2011, Kennesaw State University has worked to eradicate this issue on its campus via the Campus Awareness, Resource & Empowerment (CARE) Center. The CARE Center has served over 100 KSU students who are homeless or who are at-risk of being homeless.

This year the 2014 Homelessness Awareness Week (HAW) events will be held November 3-8 providing faculty, students and staff an opportunity to participate and learn more about homelessness. In addition, the CARE Center will host Invisible to Visible: A Fundraising Reception Benefiting Homeless KSU Students through scholarships and service on Nov. 5 at 5 p.m. Join KSU in celebrating the successes of the students they serve and those they hope to reach.

For more information about the CARE Center, visit sss.kennesaw.edu/care or click here to watch a video on the program.

To RSVP for the Fundraising Reception, click here.

Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be provided by our award winning KSU Culinary and Hospitality Services Catering department. Please click here for directions to Kennesaw State University. The Jolley Lodge is building #34 on the campus map. For more information, contact Marcy Stidum, mstidum@kennesaw.edu or call 470-578-6600.

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