LIMA — Now in its 18th year, an awards luncheon held by the Lima-Allen County Safe Community Coalition is continuing to honor members of the Lima area community who are working to guard the safety and well-being of their neighbors.
“To me, I think these folks are everything,” according to Evelyn Smith of the Lima-Allen County Regional Planning Commission. “I do nothing compared to what these guys do. With their time and talent, they put everything on the line for this community, and it is just an honor to recognize them.”
The 11 awards at the ceremony, held at the Fraternal Order of Police Hall in Lima, featured a wide array of catagories, ranging from youth safety to traffic and motorcycle safety to social media, an unknown commodity 18 years ago.
“Things have changed over the years,” Smith said. “We didn’t even know social media would exist when we started this, and now we’re honoring someone for using social media to get information to the public almost instantaneously.”
One award that carried a great deal of significance for Smith was the award for outstanding service, given to Bluffton Police Chief Rick Skilliter, who will retire from the police force Thursday.
“I’ve worked with Rick from the beginning,” Smith said. “He has just poured himself out for his community. I’m excited that, on the day before he’s finished, I’ll be able to thank him for what he’s done.”
For Skilliter, the award was a special honor and a great way to end his law enforcement career.
“It’s a great honor,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed every aspect of my job and serving not only Bluffton, but the greater Allen County community, in a variety of safety roles, trying to make this area a better place to live, work, play and visit.”
Skilliter credited his fellow law enforcement officers as well, noting that keeping people safe is always a group effort.
“I can’t say enough about the people whom I’ve worked with over the years and their dedication to the safety of our residents and those visiting our community,” he said. “I’ve never done this alone.”
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.