Police, fire, volunteers honored for service

Published 1:21 pm Friday, June 24, 2016

First responders and neighborhood watch volunteers were honored for their dedication to the safety and well being of the citizens of the city during the 19th annual Port Arthur Neighborhood Action Council banquet on Thursday.

Jody Holton, president of PANAC, told the crowded room at the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center, that the event was for dual purpose — recognizing outstanding individuals who serve the city’s police and fire departments and those who give their time and talents with the neighborhood watch programs.


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Port Arthur Fire Department recognized two sets of firefighters with commendations for their work in saving the lives of two individuals in separate incidents.

Capt. Josh Resweber, Capt. Josh Ray, Engineer Trey Hart and Firefighter Hunter Hanratty performed CPR and other emergency services thus saving the life of a man on May 27, 2016.

Capt. Klint Pruitt, Engineer Wayne Freeman and Firefighter Christopher Ellebracht received a commendation for helping save the life of a man having a heart attack on June 9, 2016.


Dall Kole earned the firefighter of the year award and Stephanie Garsea, community relations for Acadian Ambulance, received the civilian service award from the PAFD.

Port Arthur Police Department also presented awards and commendations during the banquet. Cyndi Simmons received the civilian service medal for her many duties such as scanning in all files at the department, working on the website and more.

PAPD Officer Rogelio Meza, who is also a K9 officer, received recognition the officer of the year award and the lifesaving medal from the department as well as being named office of the year by PANAC.

“Officer Meza has been with the department for six years and a part of the DWI unit. He is a certified drug recovery expert as well as a K9 officer,” Maj. John Owens said. “In 2015, he made over 100 traffic stops and covered over 40 reckless drivers.”

Then, in October 2015, Meza and another officer were in the 5000 block of U.S. 69 attempting to cover a wreck. They noticed a Chevrolet Tahoe traveling at a high rate of speed straight toward them and Officer Fruge attempted to jump over the median to get out of the way of the vehicle and Meza risked his life by reaching over and grabbing him, keeping him from being struck by the Tahoe, Owens said.



Recently retired Port Arthur Police Chief Mark Blanton received the PANAC Officer of the Year award for his years of service to the city.

PANAC also recognized Walter Breaux, James Coley and Henry Barbosa for their work with the organization.