CHEERS to local public safety officers honored recently for their extraordinary dedication to their communities.
The Exchange Club of Lawrence held its annual Public Safety Awards Banquet at the Wyndham Andover Hotel. The club honored 20 police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians from Andover, Lawrence and North Andover.
Among these were North Andover police Detective Robert Barter and Officer William Lynch, who pursued a serial bank robber on a 20-mile chase along the New Hampshire border where they caught him without causing any harm to the public.
Andover firefighters Christopher La Verde, Kevin Farragher, Todd Richardson, John Gangi and acting Lt. Kyle Murphy were honored for their roles in rescuing two people from a burning building last November.
Lawrence firefighters Miguel Baez, Lt. Edward Nutter, Steve Poley, Raymond Kenyon III and Christopher King were honored for two separate incidents involving people having seizures.
“It’s a great privilege to honor them,” Lawrence fire Chief Jack Bergeron told reporter Yadira Betances. “The job they did was extraordinary, done very professionally and with a good outcome.”
All the honorees were nominated by their departmental leaders.
These officers, firefighters and EMTs exemplify the finest among public servants. They are dedicated to their communities and the people they protect. We offer our congratulations and thank them for their service.
JEERS to yet another gun-toting thug found lurking in a Lawrence jobs program.
On Jan. 22, Michael Tesaun Alicea, 19, Richard Mora, 18, and Ruben Saldana, 18, were arraigned on armed robbery and related charges stemming from an incident at a South Union Street market. The three, who police say are members of the “Everybody’s Killers” gang, were attempting to rob the convenience store. After first barricading themselves inside then attempting to shoot their way out a locked rear door, they were arrested by Lawrence police.
Alicea, Mora and Saldana all worked for the city’s public works or cemetery departments through the “Safe and Successful Youth Initiative Grant,” which targets troubled and “at-risk” males between the ages of 14 and 24.
Last week, there was another arrest of alleged EBK members after a traffic stop and chase. One of the three arrested was also working at the Department of Public Works through a federal $800,000 anti-crime and violence reduction grant overseen by the city’s Community Development department.
Julio Pizzini, 18, of 1 Gale St.; Hector Medina, 19, of 80 Railroad St.; and Oscar Concepcion, 19, of 112 Farnham St., were charged with illegal possession of a large capacity firearm, illegal possession of a loaded firearm, and two counts of illegal possession of a firearm without a firearms identification card.
Pizzini worked 32 hours per week for the city cemetery and was praised by his supervisor, said Art McCabe, program manager in the Community Development Department.
The “Safe and Successful” youth initiative appears to be neither. It sends the corrupting message that, if you’re a gang-banging thug, some nice people with federal money to spend will get you a job.
“He’s been doing very well,” McCabe told reporter Jill Harmacinski. “But like many of these kids, they are stuck in the middle of two different lifestyles.”
That’s laughable. The only ones “stuck” here are the taxpayers footing the bill for this nonsense.