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Parkersburg scales back Police Week ceremony due to pandemic

President of the Fraternal Order of Police and Parkersburg Sgt. Beniah Depue, left, and Officer Christian Ong from the Vienna Police Department lay a memorial wreath at the Public Safety Monument in front of the Parkersburg Municipal Building on Friday. (Photo by James Dobbs)

PARKERSBURG — The Fraternal Order of Police held its Police Week Ceremony on Friday at the Parkersburg Municipal Building.

The ceremony normally features a luncheon including award presentations and remarks from the award receivers.

This year, Police Week was moved from the traditional May date due to the pandemic. A small ceremony was held at the Public Safety Monument in front of the municipal building in downtown Parkersburg.

The event began with Beniah Depue, President of the Fraternal Order of Police, and Vienna Officer Christian Ong laying a memorial wreath at the monument.

Receiving the Charles L. Plum Memorial Award or Police Officer of the year Award was Parkersburg Lt. Matt Board.

Parkersburg Lt. Matt Board, left, received the Charles L. Plum Memorial award for the Police Officer of the year from Parkersburg Sgt. Beniah Depue. (Photo by James Dobbs)

“The incident that garnered the award this year, which is from last year. If you recall there was a very strong emotional man at the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department. He wanted to end his own life and he wanted a police officer to do it. There was one man in the county that responded to the scene and was able to convince him that, that was not the way to go. He successfully negotiated that man out of taking his own life …,” said Depue.

Depue also mentioned that Board has had several years of service, always looks after his fellow officers, and looks after members of the community by taking money out of his own pocket to help others.

“I’m humbled and honored, because I work with a multitude of guys that are just as deserving if not more deserving, so to be selected by my peers is humbling,” said Board.

Receiving the Distinguished West Virginian Award was the Rev. Bill Dawson.

“Revered Dawson has demonstrated in many ways his love for his communities and his dedicated service to the citizens. His service as a pastor, and serving as a volunteer fire fighter certainly qualify him for this recognition, however, he has went even further by organizing an event that honors first responders and those who died 9/11/2001. To organize this event for the past 10 years, in an effort to honor, police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and other emergency service responders is truly something he should be recognized for,” said F.O.P. Secretary Rick Modesitt.

Ritchie County Sheriff Terrance Snodgrass, left, presented the Rev. Bill Dawson with the Distinguished West Virginia Award on Friday. (Photo by James Dobbs)

Dawson said he was shocked about receiving the award, and that he is honored that the state of West Virginia recognized his efforts.

“All of this started just for first responders, it’s not about me, it’s about honoring our law enforcement, our telecommunicators, and firefighters, and EMS, just all of those that answer the call everytime the pager goes off,” he said.

The Penny McLain Half Unit of the Year Award was received by Elizabeth Zimmerman, the daughter of retired Parkersburg police officer Joe Gonzales.

“Elizabeth Zimmerman willingly chose the life of being the wife of a police officer. This in and of itself is worthy of praise, however Elizabeth decided that wasn’t enough,” said Depue.

He went on to explain how grateful he was for the time McLain spent assisting the F.O.P. last year. Her fundraising provided the F.O.P. with a large amount of funds for Shop with a Cop. He said McLain also assisted in contacting the families of the children selected for the program, wrapping presents, and in any other way that she was able to.

Parkersburg businesswoman Mary Anne Ketelsen was honored with the 2021 Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award. (Photo Provided)

Former Wood County Sheriff Steve Greiner received the annual Gary D. Deem Lifetime Achievement Award, which was in recognition of his achievements during his career in law enforcement and for his service to the county, both as sheriff and assessor.

“We thank Steve Greiner for his years of service to Wood County. Dedicating your life to serving and protecting others is a selfless career choice. Steve has played a vital role in keeping our communities safe, and we owe a debt of gratitude to him,” said U.S. Rep. David McKinley in remarks submitted for the ceremony.

Local businesswoman Mary Anne Ketelsen received the 2021 Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award. Depue said she has given her time, support and shown her appreciation to the local law enforcement by helping with fundraising events.

“Congratulations to my friend Mary Anne Ketelsen for this recognition. Given her leadership, generosity and passion for Parkersburg and the region, it is not surprising that she would be named distinguished citizen of the year. She is a true friend to the community, especially our law enforcement officers,” McKinley said in his remarks.

James Dobbs can be reached at jdobbs@newsandsentinel.com

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