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First responders honored at award ceremony

Church members had to pull out additional chairs to accommodate the crowd of first responders at Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church last Sunday afternoon.

There, fire departments, police departments, sheriff’s offices, state agencies and other emergency personnel gathered to be recognized for their service in the church’s third Heroes Awards event.

The event, which was first started by pastor and police chaplain Kenneth Frame in 2016, aims to recognize the dedication of these individuals to public safety.

“There are officers who work so hard and just don’t get the recognition that they deserve. People are always cursing them out and treating them badly,” Frame said. “I wanted to treat them to something special. I wanted to let them know that there are citizens out here who appreciate everything that they do. That’s how we came up with (the award ceremony).”

After a service, representatives from each of more than 40 made their way down a red, white and blue bunting-clad aisle to the front of the room to claim their award of recognition, paid for by the Port St. Joe Lion’s Club.

Gulf County Emergency Management Director Matt Herring, who began helping to organize the event in 2019, following Hurricane Micahel, said that the event gets larger every time it takes place.

“We had 49 confirmed departments that RSVP’d for today,” Herring said. “… This is the biggest one so far, I think. We had some folks that couldn’t come for various reasons, but we had a great turnout.”

Some agencies ventured from farther away than the panhandle, with state agencies traveling from South Florida and emergency personnel from Greenlaw, Ohio making the trip. Batman, who volunteers with children undergoing crises to bring joy and encourage strength, even made the trip all the way from Gotham City.

Following the ceremony, first responders mingled on the church’s lawn and enjoyed a free lunch provided by Mission BBQ in Panama City.

Frame said he and Herring hope to see the event continue its growth as they strive to make it an annual occurrence going forward.

“It’s going to be an every year event,” said Frame. 

Agencies recognized at this year’s Heroes Awards


Port St Joe Police Department

Gulf County Sheriff’s Office

Chattahoochee Police Department

Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office

Leon County Sheriff’s Office

Quincy Police Department

Crestview Police Department

Tallahassee Police Department

Apalachicola Police Department

FSU Police Department

Greenlaw Police Department (Ohio)


South Gulf VFD

Dalkeith VFD

Highlandview VFD

Port St Joe Fire Department

Mexico Beach Fire Department

Tallahassee Fire Department

Quincy Fire Department

Midway Fire Department

Mount Pleasant Fire Department

Madison Township Fire Department (Ohio)

Gulf County EMS

ShandsCair Life Flight Helicopter Crew


Florida Department of Agriculture Law Enforcement

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Florida Highway Patrol

Florida Division of Blind Services – Director Robert Doyle

Road Rangers Service Patrol (FDOT)

State Fire Marshal’s Office


Gulf County Commissioner & Board Chairman Sandy Quinn

City of Port St Joe Mayor Rex Buzzett

14th Judicial Circuit Judge Devin Collier

14th Judicial Circuit Judge Elijah Smiley

2nd Judicial Circuit Judge Richardson

City Tallahassee City Commissioner Richardson


Goliath Academy Green Acres, FL (Kids)

Dynamic Integrated School Resource Officers


Garver Asset Protection

Christian Motorcyclists Association – Riders #446

Port St. Joe Star Newspaper


Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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