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Emergency personnel recognized at banquet
DCES Banquet pic
Lt. Jeff Banks presents Sam Warnke, left, with the Explorer of the Year award for 2014. - photo by For the Dawson Community News

An awards ceremony last month recognized several members of Dawson County Emergency Services for going above and beyond in 2014.

Among those awarded during the Nov. 21 banquet at Dawson County Middle School were two men who are considered to be pioneers of emergency services in Dawson County.

The Legends Award shines a spotlight on individuals whose contributions to local emergency services through the years will go down as legendary, according to officials.

This year's Legends Awards were presented to Larry Grizzle, former assistant fire chief and civil defense director, and to Dr. Andy Ball, whose medial direction helped the department become one of the top EMS services in the state.

Chief Lanier Swafford said Grizzle saw the need for the improved delivery in emergency services in Dawson County in the 1970s. During that time, he completed EMT school and served as a volunteer firefighter.

Because of his skills and dedication, he was appointed in 1987, holding the titles for several years, according to Swafford.

Like Grizzle, Ball's service also continues to impact emergency services in Dawson County, where he began a relationship with the department in 2000 by providing medical direction to Dawson's EMTs and paramedics as they cared for patients.

"Dr. Ball helped bring patient care in Dawson County to the 21st century and for his efforts and that of staff, DCES was awarded the ‘Top EMS Service in the State and Region' during his tenure as medical director," Swafford said.

The department also announced David Allen as employee of the year, Keith Mangum as volunteer of the year and Sam Warnke as explorer of the year during the awards banquet.

The explorers are a group of teens interested in fire and emergency services.

Additionally, personnel involved in fighting a June fire in which three people were trapped and safely extricated received the department's Valor Award.

Swafford said the award is presented to individuals "who in the course of their duties faced grave danger in an attempt to save human life and reduce suffering."

Valor Awards were given to: Battalion Chief Benji Ensley, Capts. Ricky Rexroat and Jeff Bailey; Lts. Paul Cloud, Shaun Benfield, Stephen Knowles, James Fraser and firefighters Ryan Leach, Robby Lee, Jacob Marshall, David Green, Adam Gilreath, Justin Rogers, Casey Creel and Brandon Carey.