Mesquite City Manager Andy Barton, Mesquite Fire Chief Kash Christopher, Firefighter/Paramedic Karen Hughes, Detective Sergeant John Woods, Mesquite Police Deputy Chief Scott Taylor and District 5300 Assistant Governor and Rotary Club of Mesquite member Jacob Noll. Submitted Photo.

The Rotary Club of Mesquite and the Mesquite Sunrise Rotary were proud to join other Southern Nevada Rotary Clubs to recognize and honor three of our own local heroes: Firefighter/Paramedic Jayson Andrus, Firefighter/Paramedic Karen Hughes and Detective Sergeant John Woods at the 15th SOAR (Safety Officer Award Recognition) Ceremony held this morning in Las Vegas.

“In a department that is filled with outstanding performers, Jayson and Karen’s performance stood out with their work on the Critical Care Program,” said Mesquite Fire Rescue Chief Kash Christopher. “However, they will be the first to tell you that they already belong to an already exceptional organization. Their actions this year have ‘raised the bar’ in a department that already operates at a very high level.”

The Mesquite Police Department proudly nominated Detective Sergeant Woods for the SOAR award based on his exceptional service to the citizens of Mesquite through his commitment and dedication to disrupting both street and higher-level drug trafficking which has had a major impact on the reduction of Mesquite’s street crimes.

Woods knew something big was up when numerous narcotics offenders came to him to report a major heroin dealer was in town selling large quantities of heroin.  Woods was able to work his way through the drug network in an undercover capacity gaining access to the criminal organization that was trafficking the large quantities of heroin within the community.  Sergeant Woods was able to buy several pounds of heroin which led to numerous search warrants and arrests.

Mesquite Police Chief Troy Tanner said, “Detective Sergeant Woods, in conjunction with the Mesquite Narcotics Team and the Las Vegas based Heroin Task Force, were able to work together and escalate the case to the federal level. Detective Sergeant Woods is to be commended for his tireless efforts in interrupting the flow of drugs into our community making our community a safer place to live.”

The first SOAR Ceremony took place in June 2002 spearheaded by Retired Captain Bob Wood from the LA County Sheriff’s Department and Janie Lynn, President of the Sunset Rotary Club. The Rotary program “SOAR” was created to honor the ordinary officer who day in and day out, performs their job in an extraordinary manner. He or she is not necessarily a “hero” in the standard sense of the word. Rather, that person is a “quiet hero” who does an excellent job at what her or she was hired to do. They guard and protect the rights and responsibilities of the citizenry of their community.

The goal was for all Rotary Clubs in Southern Nevada to work together in this project. This project started with eight agencies and has now grown to eighteen. With the help of the agencies, they have been able to honor and thank over 1,000 men and women who exemplify the Rotary mantra “Service Above Self”.

Keith Buchhalter, Rotary Club of Mesquite 2016 – 2017 President said “From all of us at Rotary, thank you to all the 2016 SOAR recipients for your dedication, hard work and love for the communities you serve. You are our neighbors, our friends, our heroes.”