By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
Pictured L to R: Officer Crystal Findura, Detective Teria Russell, Sgt. Steve Walker, Lt. Robert Montgomery, and Officer Tony Thaxton

City of Duluth Honors Top Officers With Help From the Community
By Staff Reports

Duluth, Georgia (March 12, 2014) – The Duluth Police Department held its annual Awards Luncheon to honor the top officers for 2013. Also present were local business owners and community leaders that have joined together to help continue this banquet since it was cut from the City budget several years ago as a cost saving measure.

Chief Randy Belcher said “because of the generosity of this outstanding community we are able to have this event.” Uniformed police, supervisors, support personnel, and civilian employees were honored. Commendations were presented to those whom performed in outstanding ways over the past year.

For the fifth year, Anna Huthmaker, of Huthmaker Violins, headed up Project Appreciation. This all began when Anna heard that due to budget cuts, the police department quietly decided that instead of cutting any amount from a service to the community, they would do away with their annual awards banquet. This was unacceptable to her. From there, Anna has taken it upon herself each year to contact members of the community to make donations so the police department may continue to have a nice banquet to award those officers that risk their lives each and every day.

Among the honorees were:
• Officer Tony Thaxton - Officer of the Year
• Lt. Robert Montgomery - “Top Gun” Award (Marksmanship)
• Sgt. Steve Walker – “Top Gear” Award (Driving)
• Sgt. Scott Smith – Police Star
• Sgt. Shawn Hamlin - Supervisor of the Year
• Det. Teria Russell – Meritorious Service Award
• Jessica Lake - Civilian Employee of the Year

Other honorees received Commendations including Det. Fran Foster, Capt. Mark Hunter, Sgt.William Petty, Sgt. Steve Daniels, Officer Liz Eichler, K-9 Officer John Gladden, K-9 Bennie, MPO Joe Dang, Det. Bobby Johnson, MPO Donnie Diggs, MPO Terry Stewart, Det. Javier Bahamundi, Supervisor Jessie Flowers, SCO Cynthia White, Lt. Chuck Wilson, Dt. Teria Russell, CSI Lea Elam and SRO Meegan Miller.

Donors for this year's event included Anna Huthmaker, Roland and Dixie Huthmaker, Mayor Nancy Harris, Councilwoman Marsha Bomar, Councilman Billy Jones, Councilman Kelly Kelkenberg, Councilman Jim Dugan, Corporate Expressions, Ronald and Gay Shook, Lucile Walker, Duluth Fall Festival, Bill Head Funeral Home, The Best of Brews, David Cossette, Meghan McGuire, Greg and Cherie Pritchard, Payne Corley House, Larry and Patty Larsen, Howard Brothers, Duluth Downtown, LLC, Virgil and Terrie Adkins and Stacie Stamper, many of whom were represented in the audience to show their gratitude to the police department.