Sheriff Presents Badge Of Honor

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Gila County Sheriff John Armer was in an especially generous mood on a visit to Payson Tuesday.

The sheriff presented awards to both staff members and special volunteers.

Armer presented staff members awards as part of a quarterly program.

In order to recognize outstanding employees, Armer has instituted the Deputy, Detention and Civilian Employee of the Quarter Awards.

The awards are designed to single out those employees who by their dedication and work ethic provide exceptional service to the public and the sheriff's office.

"Our employees are the most valuable resource we have," Armer said.

Law enforcement is a demanding profession, one that often strains family relations as hard-working employees put so much of themselves into their job, he said

Honored for their dedication, and their outstanding efforts during the Rodeo-Chediski Fire were Deputy Sgt. Terry Hudgens and Trudy Cory, a civilian employee. Both Hudgens and Cory serve in the Payson office.

The detention officers honored all serve in Globe: Sgt. Vi Johnson, Rachel Butler and Thomas Medina.

The Payson recipients of the awards were also given dinners for two at Cucina Paradiso and two movie tickets to the Sawmill Theatres. With the awards, Armer also is rewarding spouses of the recipients for their support with dinner and a movie.

Armer took his awards parade across the street to the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce after making the presentation to his Payson employees.

The sheriff presented another set of awards to Chamber Executive Director Bob Ware and Buck Rogers of Chapman Auto Center.

Earlier this year Armer created the Sheriff's Youth Assistance Program.

"It is obvious dealing with criminality how expensive it is ... especially in loss of property and to society. If we spend a little at the front to eliminate the big expense at the other end, we have made a difference," Armer said, explaining the reasoning behind the youth program.

The program uses volunteers and donated money. A community board, including a cross section of young people, directs the foundation and its choice of activities.

The first activity of the program was to spend $3,500 in donated funds to send nine students from throughout Gila County to Camp Anytown in Prescott. The students were from every high school in the county, except San Carlos. The San Carlos student also was invited to participate, and had planned to, but had to cancel at the last minute, Armer said.

These students will be part of the foundation's board.

When organizing the program, Armer approached Rogers and Ware to serve on the committee. According to Armer, Ware joked, "I'll be on this board, if I get a badge."

Prior to presenting certificates of appreciation to Rogers and Ware, Armer, in a responding jest, made them both honorary deputies and gave them badges.

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