Salisbury Optimists honor law enforcement agencies


The Optimist Club of Salisbury honored “Officers of the Year” from area law enforcement agencies during its annual “Respect for Law” program.

“Optimist International and the Salisbury Optimist Club take this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ for the incredible sacrifices all law enforcement officers and their families make for us every day,” said Roger Vandegrift, club member and longtime program coordinator.

“Without their dedication and public service, we would not enjoy the daily freedoms, safety and peacefulness we currently experience,” he said.

The 2017 recipients:

  • Detective Sgt. Thomas Hitty, Salisbury Police Department.
  • Trooper First Class Garrett Dick, Maryland State Police Salisbury Barrack.
  • Master Correctional Officer Vernon Downing, Wicomico County Department of Corrections.
  • Deputy First Class Tyler Bennett, Wicomico County Sheriff’s Department.
  • Cpl. Joel Arnold, Fruitland Police Department.
  • PFC John Herbert, Salisbury University Police Department.
  • PFC Nicolas Aungst, Delmar Police Department.

Following a dinner held at Salisbury University with Optimist members and their families, the officers in attendance were introduced and honored by representatives of their agencies.

In 1962, U.S. President John F. Kennedy established National Police Week in May. Optimist International started its Respect for Law program that same year. The Salisbury Optimist Club has been participating since 1970.

For more than 60 years, the Salisbury Optimist Club has been a “Friend of Youth” in Wicomico County. Throughout the year, the club sponsors a Youth Appreciation Day, the Sea Gull Classic Basketball Tournament, Essay and Oratorical contests for middle and high school students, the Respect for Law banquet and Wicomico County Parks and Recreation Girls Softball teams.  The Club also offers five $1,500 college scholarships to area students annually and donates funding to a variety of educational and youth-related efforts. The Club raises funds for these efforts through its Better Living Expo in February and its Golf for Kid’s Sake Tournament in the fall.

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