Every year, the Newport News Sheriff’s Office honors the great work of employees during its Promotions and Awards Ceremony. On December 16th, 2008 the 3rd Annual Promotions & Awards Ceremony was held at the newly renovated Ella Fitzgerald Theater inside the Downing Gross Cultural Arts Center. In his remarks, Mayor Joe Frank, pointed out the historical significance of the center. Named after jazz icon Ella Fitzgerald, born 1917 in Newport News, the building has been transformed into one of the city’s prized gems.
During the course of the year, twenty-seven (27) men and women were elevated in rank. Those promotions included Major, Captain, Lieutenant, Sergeant, Corporal and Master Deputy.
Corporal B. E. Dodge was presented the Purple Heart Medal for injuries he suffered in the line of duty. A total of seven Life Saving Medals were presented: Lt. K. L. Patrick, Dep. D. T. Hopkins, Dep. R. McMurtrie, Nurse Roxanne Adams, Nurse Sharon Leonard, Sgt. C. M. Zanders and MDep. R. M. Clayton. Major Cindy Porter (retired) was given an Exceptional Service Medal for her 33-years of dedicated service. And two volunteers, Vera Ross and Glenda MacDonald, were presented with the Citizen Service Medal. These compassionate women have volunteered at the jail for a combined 40-years. They are each retired school teachers who now teach Basic Adult education to inmates.
The Newport News Sheriff’s Office was honored to have Commonwealth of Virginia’s Secretary of Public Safety as its keynote speaker. John W. Marshall is also the son of Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Sheriff Gabe Morgan said of the keynote speaker, “For Secretary Marshall to clear his calendar to participate in the ceremony speaks volumes about the caliber of this organization.”
“Law enforcement is a calling,” Marshall told the honorees and the audience. “On behalf of Governor Timothy Kaine, I say thank you to all the men and women of the Newport News Sheriff’s Office. Thank you so much for answering the call. Please know what you do – your service, your courage, your professionalism, your integrity – it is not taken for granted by those who you serve.”
Sheriff’s office personnel veered from the printed program in order to surprise their boss, Sheriff Morgan with an award they selected for him. Morgan was caught completely off guard when presented with an outstanding leadership award.
That was not the only surprise of the evening. Lieutenant Patrick’s daughter drove in from out of town. Patrick was overwhelmed to tears. You know your event was successful when people are comfortable gathering, laughing, and socializing. That is how the evening ended with a reception in a gallery across the hall from the theater and expertly catered by Aramark.