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Elks recognize Hometown Heroes at awards dinner

January 15, 2018

BULLHEAD CITY — Three local first responders were recognized as the 2017 Hometown Heroes for their outstanding efforts as professionals and citizens by members of the Elks Lodge No. 2408 in Bullhead City on Saturday.

Melanie Beaver, the lodge’s Americanism Committee chairwoman, explained to a group of nearly 120 people at the awards banquet that a hero can be defined as “an ordinary person facing extraordinary circumstances and acting with courage, honor and self-sacrifice.”

The lodge’s chaplain, Susie Stiilabower, read a prayer asking that blessings be sent down to people who devote themselves to helping others.

“Grant them courage when they are afraid, wisdom when they must make quick decisions, strength when they are weary, and compassion in all their work,” Stillbower said.

Proud family members and friends watched as each of the three recipients were singled out for recognition.

Bullhead City Police Department officer Zachary Madarang was selected for dedication to the community through his involvement with Shop with a Cop, Special Olympics Torch Run, and Walk Away from Drugs. Bullhead City Fire Department Engineer James Smith was honored for exemplary work with the dive team and water rescue. He is highly decorated and his professional experience was called an immeasurable asset to the department.Fort Mojave Mesa Fire Department firefighter-paramedic-acting EMS coordinator Raymond Proa balances numerous assignments to district wildland fires, certifications and dedication to his ongoing education with emphasis on public safety.

“It is our privilege to honor a member from each of these fine departments for their outstanding contributions to our community,” said Beaver.

No justice of the peace was recognized this year.

While the event goes by the name of Hometown Heroes, it’s one way the local lodge carries out its Americanism directive, which is to encourage pride and respect toward patriotism. The award winners are considered professionals who embody the spirit of patriotism.

Beaver said promoting awareness about the meaning of the U.S. flag is important because not everyone understands the sacrifices some have made for their country. She pointed out that first responders are among those who do. So the U.S. flag was given some attention as well.

An Elks trustee, Monty Field, read “I Am the American Flag,” a piece written from the perspective of the flag itself.

“Stand up and see me. I am the most recognized symbol in the universe. ... More than one million three hundred thousand lives have been sacrificed to give me the right to speak. I have been burned, torn and trampled on the streets of countries I have helped set free. I have been stained, spit upon and defiled by my detractors. Yet there is no place on the face of this earth that knows greater freedom than my country.”

Bill and Candy Mochon waived acceptance of a raffle prize and asked that the $160 instead be donated to the Bullhead City Firefighters Fund.