|GOV. JUSTICE PRESENTS FREEDOM AWARDS HONORING EMERGENCY MANAGERS|
During Friday’s briefing, Gov. Justice joined officials with the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security to honor six West Virginia county emergency managers, presenting them with the DHS’ Freedom Award for their commitment to answering the call to duty.
“I congratulate every single one of our Freedom Award recipients beyond belief,” Gov. Justice said. “You’ve stepped up in the middle of a pandemic. What you’ve done is so meaningful to every single West Virginian.
“When it boils right down to it, you are all truly heroes,” Gov. Justice continued.
DHS has inaugurated awards for fiscal year 2020 to recognize emergency officials in six categories: Lifesaving, Innovation, Teamwork, Perseverance, Leadership, and Lifetime Achievement.
DHS Secretary Jeff Sandy presented the 2020 DHS Freedom Awards to the following recipients:
All 55 county managers throughout the state will also receive recognition for their teamwork during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- Roger Bryant, Director, Logan County Office of Emergency Management
- Lou Vargo, Director, Wheeling-Ohio County Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency
- Tom Hart, Director, Marshall County Office of Emergency Management
- Laura Pysz, Director, Harrison County Office of Emergency Management
- Dean Meadows, Director, Wyoming County 911 Center and Office of Emergency Services
- Walter Smittle III, Director, Jackson County Office of Emergency Management
“Thank you for the brave work you’ve done in taking care of our people,” Gov. Justice said. “God bless you and thank you for all that you’ve done.”
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|RETIRING WEST VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD LEADER HONORED WITH DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDAL|
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice joined Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard, in honoring WVNG Command Sgt. Maj. Phillip R. Cantrell with the West Virginia Distinguished Service Medal.
Cantrell is retiring following a 32-year career in the United States Army.
“Command Sergeant Major Cantrell has spent more than three decades and traveled all around the world to defend the freedoms that we hold dear as West Virginians and as Americans. We all owe him a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid,” West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said. “We owe everything we have to the men and women of our West Virginia National Guard and all of our members of the military, active and retired, who have served and sacrificed to make our lives better. I congratulate Command Sergeant Major Cantrell, from the bottom of my heart, on a career well-spent serving his fellow West Virginians, and I wish him nothing but the best in his much-deserved retirement.”
|Cantrell has served as the Senior Enlisted Leader of the WVNG since Nov. 1, 2018, where he has provided counsel to the Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, on all issues pertaining to the enlisted force of Soldiers and Airmen in the West Virginia Guard. Prior to his current assignment, Cantrell served as the state command sergeant major for the West Virginia Army National Guard. |
“On behalf of all the men and women of the West Virginia National Guard, we thank Command Sergeant Major Cantrell for his great service,” Maj. Gen. Hoyer said. “He has done so many great things. He was the catalyst that helped get the new Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy up and running in Montgomery. He's been an exceptional advocate for our Gold Star families.”
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