West Fargo volunteer fireman Rory Jorgensen and West Fargo Police Officer Stacy Dawkins have been honored by the North Dakota American Legion at their February Winter Conference held in Minot - Jorgensen as Firefighter of the Year and Dawkins as the Ray Atol
Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award winner.
Jorgensen and Dawkins were both nominated by Richard E. Nelson Post #297 in Harwood.
Jorgensen has served as a volunteer member of the West Fargo Fire Department since 1995, achieving firefighter I and firefighter II certification through the North Dakota Firefighters Association shortly thereafter. He was recently promoted to captain, and is responsible for Engine Company, consisting of three engineers and seven firefighters.
Jorgenson is trained in Hazardous Materials Operations and serves on the
decontamination team. He has completed the Incident Command and Control course at the National Fire Academy in Emmetsburg, Md., and serves on the Fire Department
Rapid Intervention Team comprised of an aggressive group of firefighters that rescue downed firefighters.
Jorgensen is also a certified First Aid, AED and CPR instructor and teaches many classes to department members; and also volunteers his time and talent to the Salvation Army and American Red Cross, teaching classes to the general public.
Jorgensen is employed by DL Jones Construction as a supervisor, specializing in grain handling equipment sales. He and his wife, Rhonda, make their home in West Fargo.
Officials of the N.D. American Legion commended Jorgensen on earning the prestigious award by stating, "The citizens of West Fargo and surrounding community, as well as the entire state of North Dakota are indeed fortunate to have someone of Mr. Jorgensen's dedication protecting our family and friends. The North Dakota American Legion is extremely proud to have the opportunity to recognize his dedication and commitment to his fellow citizen."
Jorgensen said he feels gratified by the recognition as the first firefighter from the West Fargo Fire Department to receive the distinction. "It is quite an honor to be recognized by such a well established organization like the American Legion. I was surprised and shocked. The award is not only for volunteer firemen but it's for paid career guys too, so that really makes it an honor that I received it. I really enjoy giving back to the community, so I plan on being a member of the department as long as I am physically able to. The way the fire department is growing with the new station and everything else, I am ready for the challenges ahead."
Jorgensen will receive his award at the State Fire Convention in June in Wahpeton.
Dawkins recognized as Ray Atol Law Enforcement Officer of the Year
As a working patrol officer, Dawkins balances her time between assigned duties and those of a child safety restraint technician and instructor. The time necessary to conduct initial training, re-certification training and conducting installation/inspections is enormous. By not being involved directly with the program, she had no idea the initial training would require a 40-hour training program or that a proper installation would take more than a half-hour to complete.
Dawkins has been a key component in the success of Operation Kids, an active Fargo/Moorhead Coalition child safety program, involved with conducting monthly installation clinics as well as numerous special event installations.
Dawkin's involvement in training of child restraint technicians at the state level
has served to develop child safety programs elsewhere in North Dakota. She has conducted six classes training 114 child restraint technicians. Prevention is a difficult result to measure. The measure of Dawkins success will be the longevity of the program locally and the continued interest of the public in the program.
Dawkins also served from 2006-2008 on the Safe Kids Executive Committee, responsible for making decisions regarding budget, programming, and funding for Safe Kids Fargo/Moorhead.
All in all Dawkins, is often referred to as one of Safe Kids Fargo Moorhead's "go-to-people," always available to provide insight to questions Safe Kids members or the community may have regarding child passenger safety, and doing whatever is needed to ensure that children in the community are riding safely.
She had also previously taught the DARE program for the West Fargo Police
Department, and with her cheery personality and high spirited enthusiasm is one of the department's ambassadors.
Dawkins said she is an extremely grateful recipient of the Ray Atol award. Atol was a longtime Williston Police Chief and state commander of the American Legion. "I am honored and very humbled that not only somebody nominated me but that I was actually selected to receive the ward. Whenever an award is presented from a veterans group, it means a lot to the people who receive it. I am very respectful of their organization and honored and humbled that I have won the award."
West Fargo Police Chief Arland Rasmussen also commended Dawkins on the honor. "When I heard Officer Stacy Dawkins was the recipient by the American Legion of the Ray Atol Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award I actually was not too surprised. Officer Dawkins has done and continues to do a great job, especially in the child safety restraint area. Stacy is the first patrol officer from our department to serve on a national board. She is bright, bubbly and enthusiastic about work and life in general. It is a privilege to work with her and watch her success."
Dawkins will be recognized on her award at the Department of North Dakota American Legion's First District Spring Meeting on April 15 in Fargo.