By NR Staff • 

Rotary Club honors public safety personnel

Carlton Police Chief Kevin Martinez and Carlton Fire Department volunteer Scott Bernards were chosen for their dedication to public safety and the Carlton and Yamhill County communities, according to Lee Vasquez, who chairs the awards committee.

In presenting the award at the June meeting, Vasquez said the honor aims to recognize and thank public safety workers who have “displayed unusual acts of valor, courage and kindness in their duties.” Nominated by their supervisors or cities, winners “are chosen for their outstanding dedication to their job, the community and the citizens at large,” he said.

Bernards, a Yamhill-Carlton native who farms near Carlton, has been active with the fire department for about 30 years. In addition to being a volunteer firefighter, he serves on the New Carlton Fire District board.

Carlton Mayor Kathie Oriet said Bernards’ community service goes beyond the fire department. He annually provides bales of hay for Fun Days, and after the festival is over, lets Y-C High Grad Night sponsors sell the hay to raise funds for the post-graduation party. He also provides hay for the Walk in the Park event, helps with FFA programs and works with young people.

All in all, Oriet said, Bernards “works his tailfeathers off” for the community.

Martinez became Carlton’s police chief in March 2012 after more than two decades as a police officer in Lebanon. He immediately became involved in all sorts of community activities, the mayor said.

He and his two officers, both of whom he hired, are involved with everything from Walk in the Park and Fun Days to the annual community clean-up. They run drop-in basketball programs for the community in the winter and host free movies on the first and third Friday nights in summer.

The chief put together a band of local musicians, Hometown Classics, that plays for events such as the Christmas tree lighting ceremony and Fun Days.

Martinez also has worked hard to make the police department more professional while keeping to the community policing in which both he and the city council believe, Oriet said. He is leading an effort to win accreditation for his department.

He has started a series of quarterly “Project Impact” meetings at which residents can air concerns and work on Neighborhood Watch issues. His department has focused on prevention activities, including a child safety day at which parents could have their children fingerprinted and photographed.

The department and other agencies cooperate in a large National Night Out event each year. Last year, Carlton’s National Night Out drew more than 800 participants and became one of about 30 events out of 15,000 across the country to receive a national award.

Martinez currently is planning Carlton’s 2013 National Night Out, to be held Tuesday, Aug. 6.

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