American Legion Post 355 honors officers, volunteers, more

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
The newest honorary lifetime member of Post 355, Donald Habberfield, left, is congratulated by other lifetime members George Pickett, Stanley Clark, Dan Henries, W. Patrick Falvey and David Blauvelt.

Several people were honored at the 92nd Anniversary Celebration Dinner at Johnson Costello Post 355 March 12.

As the ceremonies came to a close, a group of Lifetime Members were called to the head table to welcome the newest member to their group: Donald Habberfield. Habberfield, who served in the U.S. Air Force from 1951 to 1956, has been a member of the American Legion for 48 years.

In addition to honoring Habberfield for his contributions to the post, those at the dinner honored police, fire and an emergency medical volunteer for their contributions to the community.

Honored were:

Yates County Deputy of the Year: Chad Betts, who was recognized for his diligence in overall job performance and his ability to communicate with those in crisis. Betts, recently became a K-9 handler, and within three days of being in service with his new partner, Hasco, detected 35 bags of heroin stashed in a car that had been stopped in a traffic stop.

Penn Yan Police Officer of the Year: Patrick Ellison was recognized because he clearly sets an example of excellence. In 2010, he responded to emergencies where he initiated CPR two times, saving both lives.

New York State Trooper of the Year: Richard Newell was recognized as being extremely knowledgable and a top performer in total penal law, drug and DWI arrests for the Montour Falls/Dundee unit. He has also served as the school resource officer for Campbell-Savona School.

Penn Yan Firefigher of the Year: Rick Simpson, first assistant chief of the Penn Yan Fire Department, was recognized for the second time in 10 years for his service to the fire department, as a member of the fire investigation team and on many other committees.

Emergency Medical Technician of the Year: Mike Moss, of the Penn Yan Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps, was recognized for his 25 years of service to the organization. After several years of training and responding to emergencies, he started the Explorer Post at the corps.

The awards were presented by Post Commander Rogers Sands.

Members of the American Legion were recognized for their length of membership, and volunteers were also honored for their contributions to the post.