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Adriel hosts recognition dinner for local safety services

Law enforcement and first responders in West Liberty regularly interact with students and staff at Adriel schools, but those connections usually occur in times of distress and uncertainty.

But a law enforcement and first responders recognition dinner hosted Thursday on the Adriel campus allowed for more fun interactions among police, fire and EMS and the youths they help protect.


From the left: West Liberty Police Chief Shane Oelker, Macochee EMS Chief Chris Jones and Fire Chief John Esch pose Thursday with plaques they received at Adriel School. EXAMINER PHOTO | NATE SMITH

The event was also a chance for school officials to formally thank their local first responders for their service to the school, organizers said.

David Fullmer, residential manager at Adriel’s West Liberty campus, said the night when firefighters had to make multiple runs out to the school because a new student kept pulling the fire alarm was when he realized the local safety services deserved a bit of formal recognition.

Mr. Fullmer worked with Kerry Beck, residential clinical director to organize the event.

“We thought about cookies, but they deserve something bigger than that,” Mr. Fullmer said. “This dinner is our way of saying thanks.

“They deal with people in some really tough situations and they do it without much praise or recognition.”

John Esch, fire chief; Shane Oelker, police chief; and Chris Jones, chief of the Macochee Joint Ambulance District each received a plaque for their service to the community and to Adriel, specifically.

The departments also received a standing ovation from the staff and students.

A few Adriel students also spoke about what they appreciated most about each of the police, EMS and fire departments.

“It means a lot to us that the school cared enough to have this kind of dinner,” Chief Oelker said. “We do our jobs and don’t expect any recognition.

“That’s not why we do it.”

Chief Oelker also discussed the connection with many of the students.

“You see these kids and learn their names and develop a relationship with them,” he said. “It’s nice to smile and have fun with them.”

Chief Jones agreed.

“Usually if we’re out here it’s because something bad might’ve happened,” he said. “This is a chance to really spend some time with the kids in a situation where it’s not so scary.”

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