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Seabrook Rotary Foundation

Recognizing First Responders of the Year with ----
Seabrook Police Department
Seabrook Fire Department
Kemah Police Department

2020 First Responder Award Recipients

Kemah Police Officer of the Year: Sergeant Justin Staton

During a year of considerable hardship in Kemah, Sgt. Staton’s exceptional devotion
to duty has benefited his fellow officers, the department he works for and the community he serves. Going ‘above and beyond’ are understatements. Though short staffed, Sgt. Staton stepped up to cover both department and community needs. While fellow officers and supervisors are entitled to every other weekend off, Sgt. Staton worked every weekend during the busiest times. He volunteered to work overtime to assist other shifts, too.

His hands-on supervisory approach and leadership skills are credited with holding Kemah’s two strained nightshifts together, an oversight responsibility he assumed following a recent promotion. Always in the pursuit of excellence, he’s both coach and role model to the officers that work under him.

Sgt. Staton is also the department’s K9 officer. In fact, he started Kemah’s K9 Program and now dedicates several hours a week training with his K9 partner, Didi. The pair are on call 24/7.

One of Sgt. Staton’s team members sums him up this way. "In my 19 years of law enforcement I have never met an officer who embodies the term ‘Service Above Self’ more so than Sgt. Justin Staton. He is knowledgeable in all aspects of police work and he strives constantly to better himself and those around him.

With a reputation like this, Sgt. Justin Staton is truly deserving of our recognition as Seabrook Rotary Club’s “2020 Kemah Police Officer of the Year.” The community is humbled by your dedication and service, Justin. Your department is fortunate to have you as one of its leaders. And on behalf of all our members, The Seabrook Rotary Club is pleased to present you with this certificate and check for $1,000.00.

Left to right – Sgt. Justin Staton, Seabrook Rotary President

Left to right – Sgt. Justin Staton, Seabrook Rotary President Edna Rice
and Kemah Police Chief Walter Gant

Seabrook Police Officer of the Year: Officer James Hill

“The best part of working for the City of Seabrook is helping its Citizens”, so said this year’s Seabrook Police Officer of the Year. His dedication to duty and even his genuine compassion are hallmarks of this man’s twenty-year tenure with the city.

He’s home grown, too! This year’s Officer of the Year graduated Friendswood High School in 1989, before enlisting in the United States Army where he served as a UH-1H Helicopter Crew Chief. His Army credits include Lifeguard School, Air Assault School, Life-in-Captivity School and the Army Primary Leadership and Development School. He served during Desert Storm, too, and was honorably discharge in 1995.

Not one to let grass grow, he completed a North Carolina Police Academy program before returning to Texas in 1996. While working for the Galveston County Sheriff’s Department he acquired his Texas Police Officer’s Certification. And then, a short two years later, Seabrook had the good fortune to add him to its police department.

He’s now the department’s Senior Patrol Officer, Firearms Instructor, FTO (Field Training Officer), AR-15 Armorer, and RAD Instructor (Rape Aggression Defense). He has the department’s ‘Community Police Officer’ position in his sights now, a goal his colleagues feel confident he’ll attain.

To country and to community, his devotion to duty has been apparent throughout his careers. With that in mind and in grateful appreciation for his devotion to “Service Above Self” and his exemplary work ethic, the Seabrook Rotary Club proudly recognizes Officer James Hill as its “2020 Seabrook Police Officer of the Year.” As a small gesture of this well-deserved recognition, we take great pride presenting him with this check for $1,000.00. Thank you, sir. We accept cops as Rotarians, by the way!

Officer James Hill and Mayor Thom Kolupski

Officer James Hill and Mayor Thom Kolupski

Seabrook Fire Department Member of the Year: Lieutenant Nicole Laster

Throughout her 19-year long tenure with Seabrook Volunteer Fire Department, Lt. Nicole Laster’s selfless devotion to community is a reputation well-earned. As Communications Officer, Nicole has the critically important job of oversight for the repair and upgrading of all department radios and pagers. Regularly going above and beyond the call of duty to facilitate key objectives, Lt. Laster recently took days off from her job to insure the on-time completion of programming updates to all department radios.

Lt. Laster is responsible for the SVFD’s Marine Division, too, including fleet maintenance. She trains new marine operators. And, she ensures the fleet’s 24/7 operational readiness.

Finally, and not least among her contributions, Lt. Laster has invested countless hours navigating the various private, state, and federal grant systems, efforts which have yielded hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money to the department.

Lt. Laster’s exceptional devotion to “Service Above Self” makes her an invaluable asset to the Seabrook Volunteer Fire Department, and by extension to the community it serves. As a small gesture of this well-deserved recognition as “2020 Seabrook Volunteer Fire Department Member of the Year”, the Seabrook Rotary Club takes great pride presenting her with a check for $1,000.00.

Thank you, Nicole.

Left to right – Chief Andy Gutiker, Lt. Nicole Laster, Mayor Thom Kolupski

Left to right – Chief Andy Gutiker, Lt. Nicole Laster, Mayor Thom Kolupski
and City Manager Gale Cook

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