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Cobb Chamber Salutes Local Public Safety Heroes

October 5, 2009

The Cobb Chamber honored Cobb County’s finest during the Chamber’s annual Public Safety Recognition Awards breakfast on Monday, Oct. 5. The event kicked off a weeklong community effort to celebrate Public Safety Appreciation Week.

Sgt. Clifton Halten of Southern Polytechnic State University was awarded Public Safety EmployHalton_Cee of the Year. He has served four years in the university’s public safety department after serving in Iraq as a marine. One of Halten’s major accomplishments has been decreasing the amount of illegal underage alcohol consumption by using effective campus community contacts and proactive patrol practices. His quick thinking and ingenuity also helped save two lives. Sgt. Halten’s steadfast enthusiasm to excel in any challenge he faces serves as a constant inspiration to all his colleagues.

OConnor_TMaj. Tom O’Connor was honored with the Distinguished Achievement Award. After serving in the Marines, O’Connor has worked for the Cobb Sheriff’s Office for more than 30 years. He commands the Honor Guard and is the supervisor liaison for three local high schools. O’Connor has also spent a great deal of time volunteer coaching different youth sports and having a positive impact on children’s lives. O’Connor faced his bout with Leukemia with determination and helped establish a nonprofit organization that raises funds and promotes cancer research.

Engineer Grant Pearson of the Marietta Fire Department received the Award of Merit, which recognizesPearson_G an individual for an act of courage and demonstrating genuine care and concern for people in the community. After completing his shift, Pearson saw an elderly woman driving the wrong way on a one-way street. He knew he had to act quickly to save her life and others, so he followed and approached the car to help. She was lost, so Pearson found her address and led her to her home. He stayed with her for an hour and contacted relatives in Alabama to ensure she would be cared for after he left. The woman’s family was moved by his selfless deed.

Walraven_JThe Medal of Valor was presented to Maj. Hansell Walraven, who has worked for the Cobb Sheriff’s Office for 26 years. In May, Walraven was working a part-time job as a security officer for WellStar Cobb Hospital when he encountered an armed person. Aggravated by the busy emergency room, the person retrieved a gun, but Walraven intercepted him in parking lot. The suspect refused to drop the weapon and challenged Walraven to kill him. Walraven continued to talk with the suspect while blocking his efforts to move into crowded emergency room. His calm demeanor and command of the situation eventually persuaded the suspect to surrender his weapon and be taken into custody without incident.

Former Heisman Trophy winner and professional athlete Herschel Walker was the keynote speaker for the breakfast.

Click here to read more about Public Safety Appreciation week and to view photos from the kick-off.

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