Rockwall County first responders honored at appreciation luncheon


ROCKWALL, TX – December 3, 2021 — Rockwall County police, fire and EMS were treated to an outdoor barbecue lunch Thursday at Harry Myers Park, in recognition and appreciation of their dedication to protect and serve.

The Chamber’s 6th Annual First Responders Appreciation Luncheon welcomed guest speaker Quint Avenetti, US Marine Corps (Retired), and a fun raffle with awesome prizes including coolers and an outdoor grill.

Avenetti said the phrase “to protect and serve” may seem like simple words, but they often carry a heavy burden for those who take up the calling of a first responder. Many in that line of work suffer in silence from the stress of the trauma they deal with on a day-to-day basis, often projecting it onto their families or even themselves. Avenetti referenced the number 22 – the average number of combat veterans and first responders who commit suicide every day.


Quint Avenetti


“In speaking with a fellow Dallas firefighter, I asked him what drove him to his trade. He said it was the privilege of service, a call to serve and help people. In this service, he said, he finds fulfillment, and I imagine that’s the same for all of our local first responders,” Avenetti said. “Then I asked him his thoughts on stress, trauma and how he deals with that. His response: ‘There’s no value in harboring things that damage you. It’s part of a self-destructive mechanism to sweep our anguish and trauma under the mental rug, and it only piles up. It only festers like a rancid wound.’ He wanted to tell me that it was more of an act of strength to verbalize and seek help. Seek council among your own, a fellow first responder, and break the cycle of self-inflicted pain.

“You’re not alone. It’s a sign of maturity, of courage, to speak out. There’s no reward for harboring stress. But there is a consequence, there is a punishment, and it’s usually the families who are punished.”

Eva Hummel with presenting sponsor Atmos Energy recognized Rockwall County first responders for going above and beyond their call of duty to serve their communities, highlighting a very special occasion when the Rockwall Professional Firefighters Association recently donated the $10,000 proceeds of its breast cancer awareness t-shirt fundraiser to a local mom diagnosed with Stage 4 Inflammatory Breast Cancer.

“This is just one of the many things our first responders do,” Hummel said. “They host community clothing, food and toy drives for those in need, and partner with our local nonprofits such as Helping Hands, Children’s Advocacy Center for Rockwall County, and Meals on Wheels. They are not only committed to the safety of the communities they serve, but to the quality of life. To these men and women, it is much more than a job; It is a calling.”

Prior to the luncheon, the Rockwall Police Department recognized its Citizens On Patrol volunteers with awards for hours served last year.


Rockwall Police Chief Max Geron (left) and Robert Beaumont. Courtesy photo.


Robert Beaumont was recognized with the Top Citizens On Patrol Award for his incredible 843 hours served last year.

Rockwall Police Chief Max Geron and Mark Vancil. Courtesy photo.


Mark Vancil was given the Bruce Adams Award for volunteering a total of 3,000 hours of his lifetime in service as a Citizen On Patrol.

The following earned a Joe Willy’s Gift Card for serving up to 100 hours:

Diane Gonzales 52.3 hours

Pamela McCellon 53.25 hours

Allen Hosack  56.75 hours

Pam Slovak 57.25 hours

Wanda Bravata 57.25 hours

Michael Lambeth 56 hours

Lisa Seligman-Kearby 65.25 hours

Lisa Braun 77.5 hours

Bennie Daniels 79.5 hours

Robert Brewer 95.25 hours

Diana Kettle 93.05 hours

Ginger Douphrate 96.5 hours

Maggie Beaumont 89.5 hours


The following earned a Bronze Award for serving between 100-250 hours:

Steve Rummel 107.25 hours

Kim Hunter 113 hours

Carol Fendley 158.75 hours

Richard Gillespie 169 hours

Norman Dixon 201.75 hours

Terry McCellon 219.5 hours

William Beardslee 220.75 hours

Keith Carson 223.5 hours


The following earned a Silver Award for serving between 250-500 hours:

Eric Flynn 308.75 hours

Lynn Parker 325.50 hours

Cathy Grinstead 424.75 hours

Mark Vancil 439.75 hours

Bruce Adams 469 hours


The following earned a Gold Award for more than 500 hours of service in a calendar year:

Gene Grinstead 583.15 hours

Robert Beaumont 843.35 hours


By Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News.

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