Four local heroes were recognized at Murfreesboro Noon Exchange Club’s Annual Crime and Fire Prevention Awards Luncheon on Thursday afternoon at Five Senses.
Sergeant Shawn Applegate from Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, Firefighter Austin Garner from Rutherford County Fire-Rescue, Detective Larry Maples from Murfreesboro Police Department, and Firefighter Joseph Pennington from Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Department received plaques from the Noon Exchange Club after being nominated by their respective agencies.
According to his nomination letter, Sergeant Applegate, of the Interstate Crime Enforcement Unit, was patrolling on Interstate 24 in January 2013 when he stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation. His K-9 partner indicated the presence of drugs. Sgt. Applegate investigated and recovered about $300,000 worth of stolen jewelry. He also learned that the driver was wanted on aggravated robbery charges in California. After he and a deputy testified in the offender’s trial, the offender was sentenced to 35 years in prison. A routine DNA test linked the offender to a double murder in Minneapolis, and he was indicted in July 2014 on four counts of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder. The letter also stated, “Besides the investigation of the traffic stop, Sgt. Applegate shows his professionalism and dedication every day and motivates the deputies in the ICE unit to higher standards.”
Firefighter Austin Garner was assigned to a Rutherford County Fire-Rescue Vehicle Rescue Unit on September 13, 2014. He responded to a motorcycle accident with injuries. Once he was on scene, Garner began emergency medical care to one of the two patients. He continued to assist paramedics when they arrived on scene and also assisted in transporting the patient to a local hospital, where the patient was loaded onto a LifeFlight helicopter. “Austin’s quick response in providing immediate emergency medical care…was instrumental in keeping the patient alive,” it read in his nomination. “He routinely receives praise from his peers for his performance on the scene of emergencies and has gained a reputation for being a solid performer under pressure.”
Detective Larry Maples was selected to represent Murfreesboro Police Department as Officer of the Year for “working tirelessly to solve some of Murfreesboro’s most recent high profile crimes such as the robbery of Demo’s Restaurant, the extensive vandalism at Haynes Lumber, multiple robberies at Mapco, and the double murder at Wal-Mart on Old Fort Parkway,” read the nomination letter from Chief Glenn Chrisman. Maples was also commended by Sergeant Wayne Lawson for being “a true believer in the team approach to investigating” and “an extraordinary member of the Murfreesboro Police Department.”
Firefighter Joseph Pennington was nominated by Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Department for his assistance with acquiring the “latest and greatest equipment for the department” and for his “commitment to providing the most progressive services to the citizens of Murfreesboro.” For the past several years, Pennington has served on the department’s Fire Apparatus Spec Committee. During that time, he spent countless hours proposing, planning, pricing, ordering, and organizing equipment for six apparatus, one medium rescue, and two heavy rescues. Each time new apparatus were ordered, Pennington served as a liaison between the department and equipment vendors, which proved to be a labor-intensive process. Pennington was also instrumental in acquiring hazardous materials equipment for the department’s Hazmat Response Trailer. His planning and placement of the equipment has made for quick and efficient deployment to hazardous materials incidents. His nomination letter read, “Joe’s dedication to the department is truly appreciated, as well as the hard work he puts in both on and off duty. He is just another one of the city’s employees that is helping to ‘create a better quality of life.’”
“The Crime and Fire Prevention Awards are a way to honor those who serve our community,” said Don Wright, Immediate Past National President of the Exchange Club, “and it is an honor for the exchange club to recognize them for their service.”
The Murfreesboro Noon Exchange Club (America’s Service Club) is a group of men and women working together to make the community a better place to live through programs of service in Americanism, Community Service, Youth Activities, and the Prevention of Child Abuse.
(L to R): Det. Larry Maples, Sgt. Shawn Applegate, Rebecca Talley of Noon Exchange Club, FF Joseph Pennington, and FF Austin Garner.