Several young people who helped motorists stranded during December's paralyzing snowstorm were among those honored Saturday by the Erie County Deputy Sheriff's Badge & Shield Club.
Sworn and civilian employees of the sheriff's office, as well as 60 retirees, also were recognized at the club's annual banquet, held at Salvatore's Italian Gardens in Lancaster.
Deputy Jeffrey Ely, whose duties in the Traffic/Accident Investigation Unit include training new recruits at the academy, will receive the 2010 William G. Payne Patrol Services Award for his hard work, respectfulness and dedication.
The 2010 Investigative Services Award goes to Detectives John Graham, Gregory McCarthy and Matthew Noecker, who investigated the Jan. 21 death of 23-year-old Laura Cummings, who was mentally disabled, in her family's North Collins apartment. The victim's mother has been convicted of multiple charges, including murder.
Stacy Dierolf was awarded the 2010 Joseph Wachowiak Outstanding Citizen Award for going to the aid of and comforting a young man who was trapped in his car after it veered off the Thruway the afternoon of Oct. 20 and crashed in the Town of Hamburg. Deputy James Nichols and Correction Officers Louis Petricca, Thomas Makeyenko, John Matyas, Robert Haverneck and Bob Collins also worked together to rescue the young man, who later died.
Six young people received the 2010 Robert Insalaco Youth Award for their actions in two unrelated incidents.
Stephanie Frankenberger snapped a photograph of a man that she and her siblings saw stealing money from the collection baskets during a Mass at St. Barnabas Church in Depew. Stephanie informed the priest, who confronted the man. Though the suspect never returned to St. Barnabas, he was arrested after allegedly taking money from another church weeks later.
Meanwhile, Zachary Macwhirter, Wally Macker, Brandon Berlinski, Brittni Berlinski and Yazzmine Ramirez were honored for helping motorists stuck during the Dec. 2 storm that dropped up to 42 inches of snow in South Buffalo and nearby suburbs. The five, who are friends, pushed stuck cars on Center Road in West Seneca; the young women also distributed snacks and candy to motorists stranded on the Thruway.
New York State Court Officer Marlene Cardinale, the longtime corresponding secretary of the Badge & Shield Club, was awarded the 2010 Alfred D. Gennuso Special Service Award for her diligent record keeping and sacrifice of personal time in support of club functions.
Kristin LoVallo, who joined the civil division as a senior account clerk in 2009, received the 2010 Civil Process Division Award. She was instrumental in a computer software upgrade and data conversion project, and is credited for raising the morale and work ethic of her colleagues.