The Kings Mountain Post 24 of the American Legion has recognized the recipients of its First Responder of the Year awards for 2022.
The winners were announced at a 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony earlier this month. The awards go to a local firefighter, law enforcement officer, emergency medical services officer and 911 dispatcher who have exhibited exceptional service as a first responder.
Officials with the American Legion say the annual awards are an effort to call attention to the “dedication and service that first responders provide to our community.”
The veterans organization said it seeks to “recognize exceptional first responders, who have exceeded the duty requirements of their position and who exemplify the virtues of professionalism, dedication and have demonstrated a distinct pattern of community service.”
Recipients of this year’s awards are:
Dispatcher of the Year: Lori Jenkins
Jenkins is a nine-year veteran of the Washington County 911 Emergency Communications District. In nominating her for the award, Greg Matherly, the county’s 911 director, said Jenkins’ “experience and full range of knowledge has made her a highly valued member of the team.”
Her colleagues say Jenkins performs her best when “she is the busiest.”
Matherly said another one of the attributes that makes Jenkins stand out as a dispatcher is her compassion for the elderly.
“She speaks to them as if they are her own family,” Matherly said.
Jenkins has twice received accolades from the Johnson City Fire Department for keeping firefighters updated on the condition and location of victims trapped in burning buildings.
Matherly said one involved a hotel fire, where Jenkins kept her fellow first responders “updated and they were able to locate the room with the patient.”
Law Enforcement Officer of the Year: Lauren YounceYounce is a five-year veteran of the Johnson City Police Department and is currently assigned as a patrol officer.
Younce also serves as a certified bomb technician, having recently graduated from the prestigious FBI Hazardous Devices School at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. She is the first female bomb technician in the history of the Johnson City Police Department.
In nominating her for the American Legion Award, Police Chief Karl Turner noted Younce was deserving of the honor “because of her dedication to the communities she serves, her commitment to her department and the bravery required to serve as a bomb technician.”
Emergency Medical Service Officer of the Year: Phillip Davis
Davis began his career as an emergency medical technician with the Washington County/Johnson City Emergency Medical Services in 2015. He has served as a field paramedic with the agency since 2019.
His training and experience has landed him an assignment with one of the county’s advance life support ambulances. Davis also serves in the Army National Guard.
“Davis proudly serves his county and community with high standards, is an outstanding patient care provider and upholds our EMS core care values of pride, compassion and courage in all aspects of his service,” Deputy EMS Director Michael Skowronski said in nomination Davis for the award.
Firefighter of the Year: Lt. Robert B. Jordan
Jordan is a 17-year veteran of the Johnson City Fire Department. He holds many Tennessee certifications including, Firefighter II, Advanced EMT and Hazardous Materials Technician.
He is also credentialed as a fire officer through the Center for Public Safety Excellence. Jordan is one of only 41 officers to hold this designation in the state of Tennessee.
Jordan has been assigned the additional duty as the department’s training officer while the department was undergoing an organizational realignment. This position is a full-time administrative staff position. Even so, he has taken on the job while assigned and performing full time as a company officer on Engine 6.
“Lieutenant Jordan is a technically competent officer who has earned the respect of all department personnel,” Fire Chief David Bell said in nominating Jordan for the award. “He consistently goes above the call of duty for both this department as well as the customer and community as a whole.”