Thurston County Connection Newsletter
Thurston County Connection
Thurston County Connection
December, 2014
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This Month's Articles

Changes at Thurston County Superior Court

(More) Changes at Thurston County Superior Court

County Benefits from “JBLM Day of Service”

It’s official!

Health Systems Doing a Good Job of Tracking Illnesses

Families Welcome New Members

Perfection is Reality for County Waste Water Treatment Plant

Less Leftovers, More Joy

The Klondike Kings and the telegraph to nowhere

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 Sheriff’s Awards Ceremony

Recognition for members of the office and the community.

Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza recently conducted ceremonies to honor certain employees and some citizens. The ceremonies included-

LIFESAVING AWARDS : Special recognition was given to Thurston County Sheriff’s Deputies Gary Griffin and Mike Stewart for taking action to save a human life.

Deputy Gary Griffin

On November 15, 2011, Deputy Gary Griffin responded to a house fire in Bucoda. Upon arrival Deputy Griffin saw the home was fully engulfed in flames and he heard a neighbor yelling that “Dusty” was still in the house. Due to the intense heat Deputy Griffin was not able to enter the home through the front door.

Deputy Griffin walked down the side of the house breaking out windows but could not locate the man inside. When he reached a rear metal door, he attempted to kick it open but soon realized it was reinforced. However, kicking the door awakened the resident, who unlocked the door and opened it. At that time the resident ran back into the smoke and flame filled home, calling someone’s name. Deputy Griffin entered the residence and found the owner carrying his dog. He then escorted them outside as that part of the home was catching fire.

Once outside with the owner and his dog, Deputy Griffin stood by, keeping other citizens away from the energized electric lines, which were down due to the fire, until Fire Department personnel arrived on scene.

Because of Deputy Griffin’s quick thinking and brave actions, the lives of both the owner and his dog were saved. Therefore, for his specific life-saving action taken while engaged in a law enforcement duty, Deputy Gary Griffin is awarded the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office Lifesaving Award.

Deputy Mike Stewart: On December 14, 2011, Deputy Stewart responded to a call from a doctor at Providence St. Peter Hospital who reported that a patient was in mental distress and needed to be transported to the hospital. While Deputy Stewart was en route to the patient’s residence, the patient called 9-1-1 and reported that he had stabbed himself in the chest with a knife. Deputy Stewart arrived one minute later and was able to make contact with the individual.

Deputy Stewart saw the individual was still holding onto the knife which had an eight-inch blade with blood on it and that the man had blood on his chest. Deputy Stewart ordered the individual to put the knife down. But the man raised the knife and thrust it into his upper chest.

After numerous commands to put the knife down, the individual raised the knife and put it to his chest, at which point Deputy Stewart activated his Taser which had little effect. Deputy Stewart rushed the individual and kicked the knife away. The individual fell to the ground, but retrieved the knife, and attempted to stab himself again.

A second deputy then deployed his Taser, the individual released the knife and Deputy Stewart retrieved it. First aid was given prior to transporting the individual to Providence St. Peter Hospital for treatment.

Because of Deputy Stewart’s immediate response and brave actions, a life was saved and as a result, Deputy Mike Stewart is awarded the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office Life Saving Award.

CEREMONIAL PROMOTION : Thurston County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Slease was promoted to Sergeant.

CEREREMONIAL SWEARING IN: Sheriff Snaza administered the oath of office to correction deputies Anthony Harer, Cory Gorman, Allen Nguyen, and Jonathan “Glen” Yates.

PRESENTATIONS: Certificate of Appreciation - Court Recorder Sonya Wilcox

Sonya Wilcox received the Certificate of Appreciation for being the top fund-raiser this year for the Big Brothers Big Sisters annual Cops vs. Firefighters “Bowl for Kids Sake.” Sonya by herself raised $5,700 for this very worthy cause. A Certificate of Appreciation is an award presented at the sheriff’s discretion to those citizens who have shown exemplary support for the Sheriff’s Office or community. Years of Service Presentations – 20 Years Criteria for Years of Service: “Years of service are awarded in five-year increments for Sheriff’s Office employees. Those who have been with the Sheriff ’s Office for 20 years or more receive a framed certificate that is presented to them at our quarterly awards ceremonies.

Clay Westby Hired January 21, 1992, as a Deputy Sheriff, Clay has been a road deputy his entire career. Deputy Westby was voted Deputy of the Year in 2007 by his peers for how he handled a shooting incident, and he received a letter of appreciation for how he diffused a situation involving a mental health incident.

Tom Tinsley Hired January 27, 1992, as a Deputy Sheriff, Tom has been a traffic enforcement deputy and was instrumental in launching and maintaining the child car seat safety campaign. He worked with the Capitol Auto Mall in establishing an annual safety fair where he instructs parents on the correct child car seat for their vehicle and child car seat placement within a vehicle. Tom also is heavily involved in the annual Torch Run, a fund-raising event for Special Olympics, and the Rochester Organization of Families annual Operation Santa.

Paul McHugh Hired January 27, 1992 as a Deputy Sheriff, Paul served two years as a Warrants Deputy from 1996 through 1998. Paul also initiated the crime map program currently in use by the Sheriff’s Office. Because of his passion for the history of the Sheriff’s office, he has generously donated time and money toward preserving the design of previous vehicles and shoulder patches and most recently was named the office historian.

In the first photo, left to right- Undersheriff Tim Braniff, Sheriff John Snaza and Deputy Mike Stewart. In the second photo, left to right- Anthony Harer, Cory Gorman, Allen Nguyen, and Glen Yates

By John Tennis

Deputy Mike Stewart is recognized. Deputy Mike Stewart is recognized.

Corrections Deputies are sworn in. Corrections Deputies are sworn in.