Maintaining mutual respect

Published 5:35 pm Friday, December 9, 2016

Last Saturday, Beaufort County Police Activities League held its annual Dinner Dance at the Washington Yacht & Country Club.

The event was meant to raise support for BCPAL, which is an organization dedicated to encouraging positive relationships between youth and law enforcement, along with exposing these youth to careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

One of the most important parts of the evening, however, was the presentation of five First Responder Community Service Awards.

The recipients were:

  • Officer Chris Hobbs, of the Washington Police Department, who helped a disoriented Alzheimer’s patient and kept her calm until family arrived after responding to a security alarm at her home.
  • Deputy Ben Correa, of the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, who facilitated the involuntary commitment of a suicidal adolescent, explaining the process to both her and the Beaufort County Health Department.
  • Chief Derrick Meyers, of the Pantego Volunteer Fire Department, who started the Volunteer Medical Responder Program, and helped a grandmother suffering a stroke at her grandson’s high school graduation. Meyers was also honored by Gov. Pat McCrory.
  • Josh Ingram, of Washington Fire-Rescue-EMS, who stays involved in the community and educates youth and the elderly about fire safety.
  • Communications technician Ashley R. Sullivan, of the Washington Police Department, who helped establish Project I Live Alone, which allows law enforcement to check in on elderly residents who live alone.


It is no secret that these first responders are heroes. They, and the rest of their colleagues, put their lives on the line every day for the community. First responders make Beaufort County a better place in which to live, and there is no way to thank them enough for their service.

More importantly, the BCPAL Community Service Awards speak to a greater cause: maintaining a positive relationship between first responders and the community. In today’s world, there is much unrest — particularly between law enforcement and minority communities.

BCPAL President Al Powell believes it is important to be proactive about these relationships, building a strong bond between these people before a situation gets out of hand, such as the riots in Charlotte earlier this year.

Powell is 100-percent right about this. Beaufort County’s first responders are some of the best, and residents owe it to their community to keep an atmosphere of mutual respect between them and these heroes.