Twenty years ago on September 11 , 2001, a clear Tuesday morning at 8:45 a.m. an American Airlines jet containing 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashed into the 80th story of the World Trade Center in New York City.
Eighteen minutes later a United Airlines jet slammed into the 60th story of the building trapping first responders and others in the twin towers. A third jet, American Airlines Flight 77, crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. at 10:45 a.m. A fourth crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The passengers had gotten word what had happened to the other three planes and realized they were going to die. The flight attendants fixed boiling water as a weapon and Todd Beamer said “Let’s roll.” They fought the members of al Qaeda who had taken over the plane with knives and box cutters. The plane hit the ground at an estimated speed of 500 miles per hour killing all aboard.
Since that time the Kiwanis Club of Pampa has honored the Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year and the Outstanding Firefighter of the Year as we recognize that law enforcement officers and firefighters lay their lives on the line for us every day to keep us safe.
We want you first responders to know that we appreciate what you do and how well you do it that enables us to reap the benefits of your service.
Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year
Our 2021 Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year has been in law enforcement for 15 years. She graduated from the Amarillo Police Academy in 2006 and began work at the Pampa Police Department in October, 2006. She served the Gray County Sheriffs office for nine months before going to work for the City of Borger Police Department. After more than 10 years of service there, she came back to Pampa in August, 20 I9.
She was cited for going above and beyond the call of duty in locating a juvenile in a snow storm in 20 I4. In 2017 she was awarded a citation for pursuit under fire when her unit pursued and captured a fleeing suspect who was shooting at them. That same year she was also given a personal accommodation for her part in resolving a murder investigation.
In June of this year, she was promoted to the rank of detective corporal. The Kiwanis Club began honoring first responders shortly after 9-11. This is the first time an honoree has been selected by a vote of her peers.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of The Year: Stephanie Willoughby!
Firefighter of the Year
The 2021 Firefighter of the Year has been in public service for almost 33 years. He joined the Pampa Fire Department in 1996. He became a Captain in 2001. He holds an Associates Degree in Fire Science. He is a Master Fire Fighter. He is a Fire/ Arson Investigator, a HazMat Technician and a Fire/EMS instructor.
Our Firefighter of the Year has served the Pampa community from minor incidents to major catastrophes. He was the first on the scene and in command of two major fire incidents at W. W. Fiberglass. Recently he was in command at one of the most horrific accidents in recent memory in Pampa. The accident was spread out over half a mile. Four people were critically injured. Three were moderately injured. Four only had minor injuries. The Fire Fighter of the Year coordinated mutual aid from two additional fire departments, four EMS services and the landing of two medivac helicopters.
To serve so long in service to our community, this fire fighter has to have and does have a passion for fire-fighting service. Our late Fire Chief Greg Lee, described the Fire Fighter of the Year as one who serves “with pride and commitment.’
He has designed and equipped a new confined space rescue trailer for the Pampa Fire Department. In his spare time, he has trained Pampa Firefighters in high angle rope rescue. Chief Lee said, the Fighter of the Year “has consistently gone above and beyond his normal day to day duties, is a hard worker and strives every day to make the community a safer place.” He has been married to his wife, Jonilyn for 38 years. She is a paramedic and a registered nurse. They have three children and seven grandchildren with another one on the way.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the 2021 Firefighter of the Year: Jesse Hanes.