Salisbury Rotary honors emergency workers
By Shelley Smith
SALISBURY — The Salisbury Rotary Club recognized rookie and veteran law enforcement and emergency services personnel Tuesday.
Every year, Rotary awards plaques to the rookie and veteran of the year from the Salisbury Fire Department, Salisbury Police Department, Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, N.C. Highway Patrol and Rowan County Emergency Services.
Recognized on Tuesday were:
• Ryan Tillis, Salisbury Fire Department rookie of the year.
Tillis began his career with the Fire Department in November 2009 and has obtained several certifications including rescue technician and confined space rescue technician. He is also certified to drive a fire truck.
He has logged more than 1,800 hours of training in the past year and is a volunteer at Granite Quarry Fire Department, where he was the rookie firefighter of the year last year.
• Shawn McBride, Salisbury Fire Department veteran of the year.
McBride has been with the Salisbury Fire Department since 2006, and has earned numerous certifications.
“He is an excellent example of a self-motivated firefighter,” Salisbury Fire Chief Bob Parnell said.
McBride is a graduate of Catawba College, where he was an All-American and all-conference linebacker. In 2007, Rotary recognized him Salisbury Fire Department’s rookie of the year.
• Wesley Lane, Salisbury Police Department rookie of the year.
Lane started as a patrol officer in November 2009, assigned to the southeastern part of the city.
“He’s done a fantastic job since he’s come to work for us,” Salisbury Police Chief Rory Collins said.
A few months ago when the police department had a rash of car break-ins, Collins said, Lane was able to properly lift fingerprints from several of the cars, and after the prints were entered into the department’s fingerprint database, an arrest was made — something Collins said is difficult even for an experienced officer.
• Travis Shulenburger, Salisbury Police Department veteran of the year.
Shulenburger has been with the department for seven years, starting as a patrol officer and advancing to criminal investigations as a detective after only three years.
Shulenburger has had more than 700 hours of advanced law enforcement training and is also a member of the Salisbury Police Department Special Response Team.
“He is well respected among his peers,” Collins said.
• Dustin Motsinger, N.C. Highway Patrol rookie of the year.
Motsinger has been with the Highway Patrol since December 2009.
“As a matter of fact, last year 1,383 people met Trooper Motsinger,” Highway Patrol First Sgt. Barry Hower said, referring to the number of people Motsinger stopped or charged on roads, including warnings.
• Chris Rogers, N.C. Highway Patrol veteran of the year.
Rogers had 1,332 contacts, or charges, last year. And he had one call in particular in which he really helped out behind the scenes, Hower said.
A call came over about a child in respiratory distress, and Rogers responded. When he got there, paramedics were performing CPR on the child, so Rogers helped as much as he could with equipment, and then he tried to ease the mind of the boy’s mother.
“He talked to the mother and kept her as calm as he could,” Hower said. “He offered her words of encouragement, trying to keep her strong.”
Rogers drove the woman to the hospital. The child did not survive.
“But somebody has to be there,” Hower said. “Behind the scenes.”
• William Kluttz, Rowan County Sheriff’s Office rookie of the year.
Kluttz, a deputy, has been with the Sheriff’s Office for some time, working as a bailiff in the courthouse.
“He does exactly what we need him to do,” Auten said. And as people are getting frustrated having to take off belts and shoes, Kluttz remains positive.
“He’s always over there with a smile,” Auten said.
• Gene Smitley, Rowan County Sheriff’s Office veteran of the year.
Smitley, a sergeant, began in 1989 as a “reserve, reserve officer,” Auten said. Smitley also worked in the drug unit with Auten years ago.
“He’s a very hard worker, he’s sincere and he puts in his hours,” Auten said.
Smitley also holds the highest standard of certification by the N.C. Sheriff’s Association.
Auten said Smitley, now a patrol officer, has built the best team the sheriff’s office has.
“He hosts events at his house,” Auten said. “He cares about his people.”
• Kristin Estep, Rowan County Department of Emergency Services rookie paramedic of the year.
Estep has been with Emergency Services for one year but began her health care career in Florida as a certified nurse assistant. As she was on her way to the hospital to have her daughter, she talked to an ambulance attendant about being a paramedic.
“Her dream of working with EMS was born, along with the child born thereafter,” said Frank Thomason, Rowan County Emergency Services director.
Estep is now a senior medic with Rowan EMS and serves internally on several boards.
• Crystal Linker, Rowan County Department of Emergency Services veteran paramedic of the year.
Linker began with Rowan EMS in 1996 and has an associate’s degree in emergency services along with numerous certifications — advanced cardiac life support, advanced trauma life support, swift water rescue, farm emergencies/farm medics, firefighter I and II and level one HAZMAT.
Linker is also one of only three women who has completed Rowan County Advanced Tactical Support Team training.