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Hearing aids donated to Mexican children

Local businessmen Ron Buck and Michael S. Wheeler flew to Saltillo, Mexico, on Dec. 15 to bring 225 hearing aids and a supply of batteries to needy children with profound hearing loss who were being helped by the Saltillo Lions Club.

Buck and Wheeler worked three 10-hour days to fit the aids on the children, aged 5 to 10 years. Buck owns MedRx, a Seminole-based company. Wheeler is president of seven local Beltone franchises.

The hearing aids, valued at $1,000 each, were donated by Beltone Electronics Corp. of Chicago.

Public servants honored at annual awards event

State Rep. John Morroni, R-Clearwater, honored local police officers and firefighters Jan. 28 at his annual Law Enforcement dinner at the Sheraton Sand Key.

Six heroes honored by their agencies were:

+ Patrol Officer Christopher Householder (Fraternal Order of Police)

+ Cpl. Gary H. Schluter (Florida Association of State Troopers)

+ Firefighter William H. "Bill" Suddarth Jr. (Florida Firefighters Association)

+ Deputy Sheriff Jonathan D. Lopes (Pinellas County Sheriff's Office)

+ Sgt. Melanie Holley and Officer John Fitzgerald (Pinellas Police Benevolent Association).

Two special awards were presented: Brian Lutz of Sunstar EMS received a special recognition "for his courage and personal sacrifice" when he lost a limb responding to a call in December. And Clearwater police Chief Sid Klein was acknowledged by Morroni for "bringing excellence and national recognition to the Clearwater Police Department and for being such a great public servant."

"We ask the individual agencies to choose the awardees," Morroni said. "It is our pleasure to award them for their outstanding performances in the line of duty."

The event, attended by more than 200 people including several public officials, also raised more than $4,000 for the Public Library Foundation.

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