In a luncheon ceremony April 25, Englewood Rotary Club revealed the names of this year’s additions to the organization’s circle of heroes.
Each year, the Englewood Rotary accepts nominations and selects that year’s award winners, and adds their names to the plaque listing all the individuals selected for the organization’s circle of heroes.
“Today, we are honoring a teacher, two police officers and a firefighter as our club’s 2013 heroes of the year,” Dawn Shepherd, club president, said in her opening remarks. “However, while we don’t have plaques for them, we want to honor every police officer, firefighter and teacher. We feel every police officer and firefighter are heroes for helping keep us safe in this changing world, and every teacher is a hero for all they do to help our children prepare for the future.”
This year, the club honored Englewood detectives Ed Disner and Jan Ball.
Englewood Police Cmdr. Sam Watson’s nomination detailed how the two detectives organized and coordinated efforts of multiple agencies to gather intelligence necessary to deal with death threats against Englewood officers.
The death threats came as a result of an officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of a recently released prison gang member. The work of the two detectives was triggered by the white supremacist gang’s retaliation threats.
Even though the gang member’s death was in February 2012, the detectives continue the investigation, and their efforts have resulted in a significant reduction in the level of threats of retaliation against Englewood police officers.
The club honored Fire Lt. John Svejcar for his work in a wide variety of fire department activities, including firefighter training programs.
The nomination singled out Svejcar as being an outstanding leader and instructor as well as having a major influence in areas that included technical rescue and station maintenance. The nomination noted that, in 2011, Svejcar agreed to reassignment to help a struggling firefighter recover his skills.
Currently, he is working to support and provide leadership for the department’s shift-training groups, and the nomination noted he was singled out for his extraordinary professionalism and dedication to the Englewood Fire Department and all its personnel.
Melanie Bailey was selected as the Englewood Rotary Club’s Teacher of the Year.
In the nomination, it was noted that Bailey has been working with special education students since she came to Englewood Middle School five years ago.
Bailey was honored for her work helping create an environment where students with disabilities were integrated into the school and accepted by staff and students. She always is an advocate for the students, and the nomination said she is a teacher who has opened her heart to her students and opened their eyes to the possibilities of education.