Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco County Sheriff's Office honors exemplary employees at awards ceremony

On Jan. 21, Cyndee Stoner heard about a 7-month-old boy who was in danger. Stoner, 29, is a child protective investigator with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. When she went to the mother's address, she and the child weren't there.

Stoner didn't give up. She called the mother's associates, drove through neighborhoods where the woman hung out, went to stores where she panhandled with her son, visited the parents, friends, neighbors.

Finally, on Feb. 3, Stoner found them at a Walmart. The woman was there asking employees to take her baby. Stoner took the child — dirty from head to toe, soaked with urine — to a hospital where doctors said the boy was grossly emaciated, suffering from uncontrolled seizures and vision problems. He tested positive for cocaine.

Since then, he's gained two pounds and will be placed with a foster family.

Stoner was one of many recognized at the Pasco County Sheriff's Office quarterly awards ceremony this week. Stoner, who was hired last July, was given the Meritorious Service Medal for Accomplishment.

Others recognized:

Meritorious Service Medal for Courage — On Jan. 1, Deputy Bryan Sikes, 37, got to the scene of a fire in Land O'Lakes before the firefighters. With smoke pouring from the rear of the home, Sikes went in and rescued the only person inside the house. Then, Sikes tried to fight the fire with his agency-issued extinguisher and when that ran out, he grabbed a water hose. Sikes was commended for preventing "the house from completely igniting and spreading to other homes in the neighborhood," a Sheriff's Office release states.

Meritorious Service Award for Accomplishment — Robert Gilbert, 56, inventory coordinator who automated their system.

Special Recognition Certificate — Catherine Ciago, a nurse working at the jail who saved a deputy from an attacking inmate on March 15 and Deputies Alan Derouin, 45; Jeffrey Frazier, 27; and Ashley French, 25, who were praised for improving the jail's laundry system.

Citizen's Service Awards — John Walton, 50, who pulled his 71-year-old New Port Richey neighbor out of her burning home on March 9 and Cheryl Cannon, a 27-year-old pharmacist at Winn-Dixie in Hudson who chased a thief who stole oxycodone on Jan. 13. Her pursuit helped deputies catch him.

Incentive Awards — Maritza Gutierrez, 54, a latent print examiner whose work helped nab two minors involved in more than 100 auto burglaries. Deputy Matthew Aulicino, 38, is a disciplinary hearing officer lauded for "handling complaints fairly and equitably." Corporal David Hink, 43, has worked for the agency for nearly 22 years and is now known as Officer Friendly in Lacoochee — a federally funded position allowing deputies to mentor youth and to work with the community to reduce crime. Hink was highlighted for his dedication — creating a community project website, coordinating an anti-drug rally and renovating the area's community center.

Lifesaving Award — On Jan. 14, Corporals Michael Molnar, 36, Ronald Gardner, 47, and Deputies Garth Johnston, 38, and Darren Nicholson, 50, saved an inmate who tried to hang himself. Deputies Christopher Wieck, 32, and Natalie Kelly, 31, were also awarded for saving a suicidal inmate March 24.

Another inmate nearly died from an overdose on prescription drugs he obtained "on a furlough outside the jail" and these employees saved him — Deputies Steven Stewart, 51; Roy Castro, 37; William Gay, 21; RN supervisor Mary Komer, 42; and LPN Giovani Gomez, 32.

On Feb. 2, Corporal Russell Meissner, 34, and Deputy Eric Biddle, 29, saved a man in Hudson who tried to hang and shoot himself. On Jan. 23, Deputies Sascha Vanderwaall, 33, David Riffe, 39, and Russell Knieriem, 38, saved a man in New Port Richey armed with a razor and a cord wrapped around his neck.

Erin Sullivan can be reached at esullivan@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6229.

Pasco County Sheriff's Office honors exemplary employees at awards ceremony 04/23/10 [Last modified: Friday, April 23, 2010 7:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)

    World

    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.