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Six recognized at Watertown Legion’s Law and Order awards dinner

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WATERTOWN — More than 150 people, including law enforcement officers, government officials and American Legion members, turned out for the 47th annual Law and Order awards and dinner at the Army & Navy American Legion Post 61, 138 Sterling St.

One member each from the city police and fire departments, Watertown Correctional Facility and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, along with two state troopers, were chosen for the special recognition. The recipients were chosen for exemplary service to their respective departments.

n From state police, Troopers Nichole K. Turck and Scott D. Whitmore, from the Alexandria Bay barracks, were chosen for their rescue of an elderly man and his wife from a barn fire in the town of Orleans that had spread to their house on April 2, 2013. After getting the man, Richard J. Kennell, out of the house, the troopers went back in for his wife, Phyllis D., “without regard for their own personal safety.”

n The Watertown Correctional Facility selected Gregory S. Binion for the award. Mr. Binion organized and ran a hockey tournament named Hockey for Heroes that ran from Jan. 3 to 5. The tournament raised more than $16,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project.

n City police Officer Wayne W. McConnell was recognized for his actions Sept. 29. He made a “split-second decision” to holster his service weapon and instead draw his Taser against a man with a knife chasing a woman covered in blood. City police said Mr. McConnell’s action in putting himself between the man and woman “very possibly saved her life.”

n Fire Capt. Joseph Compo, a veteran of the city fire department since 1978 who retired April 19, also was selected. Mr. Compo has received many recognitions over the years, most recently the American Red Cross Good Neighbor Award last year for his work with people suffering from muscular dystrophy.

n The final selection comes from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, which chose the Rev. Christopher C. Carrara, the office chaplain since 1995. Father Carrara has been available to uniformed and civilian employees and their families in times of need. Father Carrara serves at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Lowville.

The six were issued special citations from Assemblyman Kenneth D. Blankenbush, R-Black River, the Jefferson County Administrator’s Office and the American Legion.

Post Commander James M. Marshall credited the high turnout — up 25 from last year — to the Watertown Correctional Facility being included in this year’s ceremony. “It’s a great event,” Mr. Marshall said.

Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham, who has attended the dinner for more than 20 years, praised the work of those honored and the departments as a whole. “We like to recognize the hard work and dedication of these folks,” he said. “When things go bad, they have a tough job to do.”

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