The Mesquite VFW Post 7385 honored two of Mesquite’s finest officers during a short ceremony Thursday night, Jan. 12. From left to right are Fire Chief Kash Christopher, Fire Captain Will Martinez, VFW Commander Chuck Caldwell, Mesquite Police Detective Sergeant John Woods and Police Chief Troy Tanner. Photo by Stephanie Clark.

The Mesquite VFW Post 7385 honored two of Mesquite’s finest for their hard work and dedication to the city and its residents in a brief presentation on Jan. 12.

“We are very happy that we have such fine departments here to protect the city,” said VFW Commander Chuck Caldwell who has been Post Commander since 2013. He told the honorees, Fire Captain Will Martinez and Mesquite Police Detective Sergeant John Woods, “We’d like to honor you and thank you for your service for Mesquite. That service goes far beyond what you may find anyplace else,and we appreciate all you do.”

Both recipients were awed by the award, both agreeing that it is the veterans who should be honored.

“While it is an honor to receive this award, these men are the ones should be honored for their service,” said Woods, a 19-year veteran with MPD. He was also recently awarded the Safety Officer Recognition Award (SOAR) for 2016 by the Rotary Club of Mesquite.

Martinez added, “I am humbled. It really is an honor to be recognized, especially by these fine veterans.” Martinez began his service with the Mesquite Fire Department as a reserve in 1997 and became an official member in 2001.

The criteria for the recognition, according to Caldwell, was put to a vote by the members of the VFW during one of their recent meetings. Consideration was given to the actions of the people, of the officers and their involvement within the city both on and off shift. Woods has been highly active with the annual Shop With a Cop program and Martinez is often the organizer of flag retirement ceremonies throughout the year, including during the 1000 Flags over Mesquite event in November each year.

Nearly 20 VFW members attended the ceremony as well as Mayor Allan Litman, Police Chief Troy Tanner and Fire Chief Kash Christopher. All three officials also expressed their appreciation for their officers’ work and dedication.

“John does an excellent job with his team,” said Tanner. “What they do makes a huge difference in this city. They are super proactive in handling the drug activity that has doubled over the past few years. We appreciate every bit of his and his team’s hard work in keeping Mesquite safe.”

Chief Christopher praised Martinez’ presence and dedication. “He’s really in tune with what the Veterans Center does, especially with his involvement with the flag ceremony. He’s constantly volunteering his time for the flag retirement ceremonies. He does it with respect and understands the importance of it. That’s a big thing.”

When asked on his thoughts, Litman remembered that these two men weren’t the only ones responsible for our safe city, that both crews of the departments as well as the veterans themselves should be recognized. “These guys should be honored every day for what they do. Just a simple ‘thank you’ does wonders, and they need to be thanked as much as possible.”