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Sgt. Omar Maklad was named Police Officer of the Year and recognized for his efforts during a domestic disturbance call last April.

Sgt. Maklad, other Woodbury officers commended

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Woodbury Police Chief Lee Vague got emotional Thursday Feb. 24 at the Woodbury Public Safety Recognition event as he told the story of a group of officers who responded to a rare domestic disturbance involving an armed suspect last year.

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He especially recognized Sgt. Omar Maklad, who was wounded in a standoff with the suspect the night of April 15, 2010, and named him Police Officer of the Year.

"We'll never define you by one night," Vague said, adding that Maklad's ability to bounce back and return to work after being shot is an example of his courageous efforts to continue serving the community.

Maklad's partners were also recognized and given medals of commendation and letters of outstanding achievement for their efforts to save his life while maintaining their composure, getting the situation under control and gathering critical information that later helped in the investigation. Officers Jeff Snyder, Jason Antrim, Kevin Asauskas, Jeff Benysek, Brian Cline, Alanna Kopel, Eric Ramsdell, Jeff St. Martin and firefighter/paramedic Chris Klein were honored Thursday.

"It was one of the proudest moments of my life," Vauge said.

A number of police, fire and emergency personnel were also recognized for life-saving efforts, burglary investigations, fraud incidents, public education, medical emergency and undercover operations. Chris Donahoe was sworn in as the police department's newest sergeant, Klein was named firefighter of the year, Jane O'Donnell took the employee of the year award and Jason Hedican was named public safety volunteer of the year.

The following were all of the awards and recognitions presented at Thursday's event at the Eagle Valley Clubhouse in Woodbury:

Medals of commendation were given to Sgt. John Altman, officers Jeff Gort, Jason Posel, Susan Banick and firefighter/EMT Terry Lund. Lifesaving medals went to officers Scott McCafferty, Stacy Webb, Dan Wenshau, Mike Pomeroy and Firefighter/EMT Kevin Lynch. Medals of valor were presented to Sgt. Maklad, officers Jeff Gort, Chris Donahoe and Detective Chris Ployhart. Employee of the year nominations were for police officer of the year Sgt. Maklad and Officer Snyder. Public safety employees of the year were Adam Sack and Garrett Kissner along with O'Donnell. Firefighters of the year were Troy Bengtson, Nathan Beitler, Bill Braun, Ann Mates along with Klein.

Additionally, the following received letters of outstanding achievements: Chris Donahoe, Tony Ofstead, Kim Shogren and Marc Olson for mental health crisis incident; James Olsen for vehicle theft incident; Susan Banick, Chris Huhn, Alanna Kopel, Scott McCafferty, Jason Posel, Jeff St. Martin, Nick Wachal and Investigative Technician Michele Jurjans for burglary investigation; Allan Olson for fraud incident, Sgt. John Altman, officers James Olsen, Mike Pomeroy, Dan Wenshau and EMTs Michael Blohm and Brian Cartier for medical emergency; Lynn Drost for undercover operation, Lucas Rogers for motor vehicle tampering incident, Steve Hane for stolen property possession incident; Detective Michelle Frascone, Jurjans and Investigative Technician Wendy Simone for check forgery investigation; Brett Lawler for stolen property possession incident; Jurjans for evidence processing; Kevin Asauskas for EMS education; Sgt. Neil Bauer, firefighter/paramedic Klein and paramedic Dawn Rolling for medical advisory leadership; firefighter/EMT Angela Kain for Electronic Patient Care Reporting (ePCR) Training; firefighters/EMTs Cory Bauman, Bill Braun, Nathan Beitler, Angela Kain and security officer James Chandler for public education; firefighters/EMTs John Byrne, Jerry Halbert, Tim Heap, Ben Nelson and Chris Sawotin for public education top performance. Achievement medals were given to Garrett Kissner, firefighter/EMT Tim Heap, Officers Jeff Gottstein and Kim Shogren.

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Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.
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