VFW honors first responders



Every year, the Veterans of Foreign Wars recognizes members of the Police and Fire Departments with a Safety Recognition Award.

Friday afternoon, Newnan’s Tom Fetchet of VFW Post 2667 presented awards to members from the Newnan Fire Department and Newnan Police Department. 

Award winners must have demonstrated recognition by their colleagues or those they serve, consistent excellence in the performance of their duties, and consistent dedication to their official responsibilities over a period of years and continuous growth in responsibilities and skills within their profession.

Lt. Bart Henson from the Newnan Fire Department was honored for his leadership of new recruits in the department and for helping save the life of two victims of cardiac arrest on the same day in May of 2016. 

“Henson personifies the Harvey Firestone saying, ‘The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership,’” Fetchet said. “The leadership he instills in young firefighters is building the future of the Newnan Fire Department.”

Henson also is a volunteer coordinator for all firefighter funerals. The funeral for retired Chief Wesley Meadows in December included transporting the casket on a vintage fire truck from downtown Newnan to Forest Lawn Cemetery. 

“It may sound like a small task, but working with a grieving family is a delicate situation,” Fetchet said. “Henson offers the support of the Newnan Fire Department with respect and dignity.”

Officer Charles Cox from the Newnan Police Department was honored for his proactive attitude toward policing – balancing aggressive patrols in high-crime areas while being an ambassador of goodwill among the community.

He played a role in saving a suicidal woman last December. Upon arriving at the residence, Cox heard a car running inside the closed garage attached to the house. When he entered the home and went into the garage, he found a woman sitting inside the car with the doors locked. 

As he approached the car, the female showed him a handgun and pointed it at her head, according to Fetchet. When Cox attempted to open the garage door, he found it padlocked. 

Realizing the situation, he directed an officer to keep an eye on the victim while he forced the door open with another officer. 

Cox then broke the window of the car and took the victim into the fresh air and stayed with her until emergency medical services arrived. 

Police Chief D.L. “Buster” Meadows praised both the police and fire award recipients.
“You both set good examples, but everyone here today does a great job,” he said. “We appreciate what you do, and Newnan is fortunate to have y’all here in the community.”

Fire Chief David Whitley echoed Meadows’ sentiments. 

“With Chief Meadows, we’ve never had any problems, and we back y’all 100 percent,” Whitley said. “We’re lucky to have you.”

Tuesday, the county version of the same awards will be presented at the County Administration Building to honor sheriff’s deputies and county firefighters before the county commission meeting at 6 p.m.  

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