BY SAM SCINTA WEEKLY REPORTER
O’FALLON – The O’Fallon VFW Post 805 held an awards banquet for local first responders on Thursday evening, honoring one police officer, fireman, and EMS.
“I think in recent years we have drifted away from the proper way to honor our law enforcement and first responders,” VFW Post 805 Commander Ed Martinez said. “So tonight is part of a national effort by the VFW to make sure we properly honor those that keep us safe.”
Detective William Barlock was named Officer of the Year by the VFW Post 805, marking the second straight year he has been named as an Officer of the Year.
Barlock specializes in instances of cyber-crime and was instrumental in the starting of the O’Fallon Honor Guard.
Detective Barlock also helped bring back a pair of programs to O’Fallon, restarting both the Neighborhood Watch and the National Night Out programs.
The award was handed out by O’Fallon Chief of Police Eric Van Hook.
“With Bill, it’s kind of a combination of ‘What can I say’ and ‘How much time do you have,” Chief Van Hook said. “I could go on and on about his integrity and character.”
Lieutenant Bradley White was named the Fireman of the Year for his duties as Station Captain in Shiloh and as Quartermaster, but was unable to attend the ceremony as he is serving overseas in Bahrain as an intelligence specialist for the Naval Criminal Investigation Service.
Lt. White serves as the lead advisor for the Explorer Post in the O’Fallon Township, and is also a teacher with the Illinois Fire Service Institute.
White’s award was presented by O’Fallon Fire Chief Brent Saunders.
“Lieutenant White is always willing to fill in anywhere he’s needed at any point in time,” Chief Saunders said. “He’s very involved in our public safety and in making sure that our department is prepared with the best training and information.”
White is a liaison for the Department of Defense at Transcom and the Drug Enforcement Administration, and he also serves part-time with the FBI Anti-Terrorism Task Force.
Tim McClain was named Paramedic of the Year, capping off a great first year with O’Fallon EMS. McClain joined in January of 2016.
McClain is a 23 year veteran of the Air Force and teaches classes at Southwestern Illinois College and Rend Lake College. He also started the EMS Explorer program.
“As soon as Tim came in, he immediately wanted to set up a bunch of programs that took O’Fallon EMS to the next level,” O’Fallon EMS Supervisor James Holley said. “When he started the Explorer program, it was the first of its kind in the Metro East. He’s done a lot to improve our department in his short time here.”
Members of the O’Fallon Hockey Team volunteered at the event, helping veterans find their seats and get their meals.
“I would like to thank the VFW for hosting this event honoring our department and the rest of the first responders,” Chief Saunders added. “To all of our folks, and all of the other departments that showed up, thank you.”