Peace Officers, Citizens Recognized at 2016 Natrona County Sheriff’s Office Awards Ceremony
Natrona County Sheriff Gus Holbrook recognized over a dozen peace officers and civilians during his office's annual awards ceremony Wednesday afternoon.
Awards included certificates of commendation, life-saving awards and 20-year service awards.
Life-saving awards went to Deputy Ryan Sheets and Deputy Brett TeBeest.
TeBeest provided lifesaving CPR on a man for 15 minutes without relief. Holbrook said the quality of CPR provided by TeBeest was a significant factor in medical staff retrieving a heartbeat from the man.
Sheets responded to a "frantic" 911 call and found a woman -- Francine Foss -- performing CPR on her unconscious husband in a remote area. Sheets used an automated external defibrillator to shock the victim before continuing CPR.
Sheets also found a landing zone for a lifeflight helicopter and used his flashlight to guide the pilot in. Holbrook said Sheets' actions saved the victim's life.
Foss received a civilian lifesaving award. Holbrook said Foss performed CPR on her husband for 12 minutes before help arrived.
Also receiving the civilian lifesaving award were Craig Campbell and Jonathon Zimmey for their actions in saving a 17-year-old from drowning in Alcova Reservoir.
Holbrook said at Wednesday's ceremony that the 17-year-old cramped up while trying to swim across a stretch of the lake near Cottonwood Beach on June 5. Zimmey, who was swimming with him, tried to help the teen to shore.
The significant size difference between Zimmey and the teen, Holbrook said, made it a difficult task. Zimmey ended up cramping as well.
Campbell, who was in a boat nearby, saw the two struggling and threw them a lifejacket before getting the victim into the boat. The victim was reportedly conscious and alert when EMS arrived, thanks to the selfless actions of Zimmey and Campbell.
John Minsaas received a civilian certificate of commendation for saving a couple from a trailer fire in the early hours of Dec. 5.
Minsaas was headed out to his parents' house around 1 a.m. that morning when he saw a burning trailer house.
He got out of his truck and pounded on the door of the trailer until the two people inside woke up and got out. Then, Minsaas helped put out the fire.
Deputies arrived to find him pouring water on the smoldering vinyl siding of the home when they arrived roughly 15 minutes later. The cause of the fire turned out to be a cigarette butt that had not been entirely extinguished.
Holbrook said Wednesday the two occupants could have died had Minsaas not stopped to help.
A certificate of commendation was awarded to Corporal Spencer Hard, Deputy John Bruce and Nurse Karen Fuller for their efforts in quickly getting medical attention for an inmate in the Natrona County Detention Center on Nov. 24.
Holbrook said the inmate was acting strangely and became unresponsive to officers, who immediately realized the inmate was experiencing a medical issue and worked quickly to render aid.
The inmate was transferred to Wyoming Medical Center.
Also at Wednesday's ceremony, three peace officers -- Sgt. Michael Hotard, Sgt. Diana Steinberg and Deputy Mickey Anderson -- received awards recognizing each of them for serving 20 years at the Natrona County Sheriff's Office.
Holbrook, in presenting the awards, noted that Hotard in 2003 gave up the rank of corporal so he could go work for the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation. He attained the rank again in 2005 and currently serves as team leader for the Special Response Team's sniper group.
Steinberg was recognized for her work as a detention officer, in which she diligently seeks to apply best practices for the benefit of her fellow officers as well as inmates.
Andersen serves as Midwest resident deputy and has served several terms as Midwest town councilor. He is a specialist with search and rescue vehicles and equipment, while continuing to serve as a sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve.
Civilian Employee of the Year for 2016 went to Krista Reed, who Holbrooke noted saves the county thousands of dollars by scheduling inmate transport in such a way as to avoid needing private transport companies.
Detention Officer of the Year went to Deputy Ashley Buchanan, who serves in the detention center's medical services division. Holbrook commended her for getting an elderly inmate with dementia into a nursing home following their stay in the detention center.
Peace Officer of the Year was awarded to Investigator Taylor Courtney. Courtney primarily investigates sexual assaults of both adults and juveniles. Holbrook noted Courtney was assigned a total of 56 cases in 2016, many of which were sexual assault cases.