The Scenic Chattanooga Optimist Club honored members of the Chattanooga Police Department Special Weapons and Tactics Unit (SWAT) on Friday at a program held at Niko’s Southside Grill.
The Club’s “Respect for Law Program” was initiated in 1965 by Past Optimist International President Carl Bowen and former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. The program was adopted locally because of the club’s belief that it is important for our community to recognize the many positive attributes of local law enforcement personnel who serve and protect the citizens of Chattanooga and Hamilton County.
Carolyn Tucker, president of the Scenic Chattanooga Optimist Club, stated, “The Scenic Chattanooga Optimist Club is proud to be a long-time participant in the Optimist’s annual Respect for Law Program. As a community, we are deeply indebted to those who choose a career of service in law enforcement. These men and women serve as the frontline of protection for all of us, and we are proud to honor them.”
Gary Behler, Juvenile Court Clerk of Hamilton County and chairman of the Scenic Chattanooga Optimist Club Respect for Law Program, said, “It has been my honor and privilege to serve as Chairman of the Respect for Law Program for the last 13 years. This year, particularly, we are reminded of the dangers all law enforcement professionals and first responders face on a daily basis protecting our community. The SWAT Team never receives a 'routine call.' In this particular situation, we are honoring them for their extraordinary lifesaving search and rescue efforts during and after the extended tornado activity our area experienced last May. Their heroic efforts in rescuing Andrew Ellis were simply amazing. Andrew was recently named the Tennessee Champion for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and obviously he is a huge fan of this special unit of the Chattanooga Police Department. All of us are truly indebted for their service.”
Members of the SWAT Team who accepted the award were Capt. David Roddy, Justin Kilgore, Jeremy Eames, Sgt. Jon Chambers, Lt. Zac McCullough, John Patterson, Steve Campbell and Sgt. Randy Noorbergen. Several family members were in attendance.
The SWAT Team was nominated for this award by Chief of Police Bobby Dodd.
Respect for Law is one of the organization’s most popular programs, with more than 1,500 clubs participating annually. Carrying the motto “Bringing out the Best in Kids,” Optimists conduct positive service projects that reach more than six million young people each year. To learn more about Optimist International, please call 314 371-6000 or visit the organization’s website at www.optimist.org.