Amherstburg Police Service honours civilians and officers at awards ceremony


Police Awards - Shawn Police Awards - Leblanc Police Awards - Joel Police Awards - Canadian Tire Police Awards - ACS Police Awards - groupBy Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Police Service has paid tribute to local citizens, groups and its own officers.

The 2013 recognition and service awards were held last Tuesday night at the Amherstburg Knights of Columbus Hall. Amherstburg police honoured two citizens, a service organization, a local business and one of its officers during this year’s dinner.

Joel Charron was this year’s recipient of the Chief’s Award of Excellence. Charron, who served as editor of the River Town Times from 2009-13, was honoured for his “exemplary performance to the citizens of Amherstburg,” said Deputy Chief Pat Palumbo.

Palumbo noted Charron was a frequent visitor to the Amherstburg police station and would also assist in taking photos the department needed taken.

“One of Joel’s greatest passions is sports,” said Palumbo. “He has been a familiar face at all area sporting events.”

One of the sports-related events that Charron was involved with was when Kevin Westgarth brought the Stanley Cup to Amherstburg in 2012. Palumbo said he assumed that would be named by Charron as his highlight of his River Town Times tenure but was caught off guard when it wasn’t.

“Joel stated that being a voice for the youth of Amherstburg was his proudest accomplishment,” said Palumbo.

In addition to his editorial responsibilities with the newspaper, Charron also served as team manager 2012-13 Amherstburg Stars midget major team and was also an assistant coach with the senior football team at General Amherst High School this past season.

The Citizen Recognition Award, presented by Sgt. Mike Cox, went to Tina Leblanc. Leblanc is a founding member of the Amherstburg Heroes Athletic Club, a group that has expanded from just having weekly basketball nights at General Amherst High School to also having indoor baseball at the United Communities Credit Union Complex, movie nights, bowling and other activities.

Leblanc was also credited with being a major reason as to why the annual Heroes’ fundraiser – the Robert Pillon Memorial Dinner – has become the event it now is.

Despite the fact she now has two children with husband Stefan, Cox said Leblanc hasn’t stopped helping the Heroes and even brings her children with her to events.

“She’s never said no to anything we’ve undertaken,” said Cox. “You can always count on Tina to be there. Tina is one of the major reasons why the Amherstburg Heroes is such a success.”

The Long Service Award was presented to Sr. Const. Shawn McCurdy on his 20 years of service. McCurdy began as an auxiliary police officer in 1991 before becoming a regular member in May 1993.

“During his 20 year career, he has been assigned to patrol, criminal investigations and the traffic unit. At present, he operates as our quality assurance officer, approving and classifying all calls for service as per Stats Canada regulations. He also oversees all the property brought into the service which includes firearms and narcotics. He has overseen this area since 2011,” said Palumbo.

McCurdy has also served as a member of the Amherstburg Police Association since 1996, including stints as president and vice president.

“He has been honoured by our service and others for his contributions to policing,” said Palumbo.

Palumbo noted McCurdy received the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police Award of Excellence in 2002 for his exemplary performance in a high risk call involving a violent individual suffering from mental health problems. In 2004, he received the Queens Jubilee Medal bestowed upon police officers for their community involvement and received recognition form the service for his 10 years of service to the Values, Influences and Peers (VIP) program in 2010.

“Shawn relates that his proudest accomplishments have simply been working with the youth in his capacities as a police officer. Aside from VIP, these include the

Fill in the Gap Program which was a high school mentoring program and the various fundraising initiatives he has helped the Amherstburg Police Service association attain successfully,” said Palumbo.

Aside from his police duties, McCurdy has coached a host of youth teams including Amherstburg Minor Baseball, South County Volleyball Association and Amherstburg Minor Hockey.

The Corporate Partnership Award was presented to Canadian Tire and its associate dealer Jeff Levy. Palumbo said when Levy first came to Amherstburg in 2010, he was “amazed on how picturesque the town is” and decided to call the community home.

“Instantly sold on the community, he packed his bags and bought the store,” said Palumbo.

From there, Palumbo said Levy has had a high level of community involvement, including visiting the Amherstburg police station upon his arrival to see how he could partner with police. Canadian Tire’s partnership with Amherstburg police has seen the local store sponsor events such as the police’s bicycle rodeo earlier this year.

Palumbo also noted Canadian Tire’s commitment to youth programming through its Jumpstart program, which saw proceeds go towards it from the golf tournament Canadian Tire sponsored in August. The AMA Sportsmens’ Club and the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce also benefited from the tournament.

In all, the Canadian Tire Amherstburg Golf Classic raised approximately $35,000.

Levy also stepped up and helped co-ordinate plans for when the Stanley Cup came to Amherstburg, Palumbo added.

The Service Club Award was won by Amherstburg Community Services. Palumbo pointed out ACS serves 9,000 clients per year and offers almost 25 services out of its Victoria St. S. office. Just a sample of the programs ACS offers include Care A Van, Meals on Wheels, Pathway to Potential, Keep the Heat, Service Canada among others.

Palumbo stated that ACS also offers emotional, financial and employment counseling out of its office.

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