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Annual award goes to firefighter, police officer


Men and women in uniform, along with friends and family, gathered Saturday, April 24, at the American Legion Hall in east Portland for the Russ Lemmon Awards Friendship Dinner. Honorees were Police Officer of the Year Steve Wilbon and Firefighter of the Year Glen Eisner.

The annual dinner, held at Portland Post No. 1 on Southeast 122nd Avenue is in honor of Lemmon, a longtime member of Post No. 1, as well as a Multnomah County Deputy Sheriff.

Lemmon was a man of “principle, dedication and integrity” and the awards are presented in his memory for “outstanding service and excellence in the performance of duty.”

“We respect what the police officers and firefighters do and we appreciate it,” said Dick Kemp, Adjutant for American Legion Post No.1. “It's great to honor these people and we have been doing it for a long time.”

The dinner itself was provided and prepared by the women of the American Union Auxiliary Unit.

2010 Firefighter of the Year
Portland Fire & Rescue Deputy Chief Mark Schmidt, from left, extols the virtues of firefighter Glen Eisner, winner of the 2010 Russ Lemmon Award, annually given to one police officer and one firefighter.
Glen Eisner was presented his award by American Legion Post No. 1 Commander Carl Akin, and Portland Fire and Rescue Division Chief Mark Schmidt spoke about the man he nominated.

“Glen took on nontraditional jobs and led the Fire Department into uncharted areas of emergency management,” Schmidt said. “He exemplifies public service - and that's coming from his peers.”

Schmidt said Eisner took on the task of thoroughly redesigning the Fire and Rescue Emergency Management Plan, including facilitating 130 emergency responders for the city of Portland.

He said Eisner did “all the tedious work no one wants to do” to raise the safety standards for Portland Fire and Rescue.

Eisner, who has been with Portland Fire and Rescue for 33 years, said he was completely “humbled by the award.”

He thanked the members of the American Legion present for “protecting and preserving our freedom.”

Eisner said he admires the members of the American Legion Portland Post No. 1 for having command presence and for sponsoring numerous groups and events in the community.

2010 Police Officer of the Year
Police Officer of the Year Steven Wilbon, left smiles while posing with his boss, Lieutenant Dave Hendrie. Hendrie nominated Wilbon for the annual award.
Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Lieutenant Dave Hendrie presented the Police Officer of the Year award to Steve Wilbon.

“Officer Wilbon hunts hard and does an outstanding job,” Hendrie said. He stated that Wilbon is proactive, works diligently to track down suspects and remains positive.

Hendrie went on to describe multiple cases in which Wilbon went above and beyond the call of duty to apprehend suspects, including a criminal responsible for a large string of burglaries.

Wilbon said he was surprised when he heard he would be receiving this honor from the American Legion, having been an officer for just over four years, half that time spent with the East Precinct.

“A lot of the work I've done is research - pulling reports, studying the trends and getting an idea to put into play,” Wilbon said. “Essentially, you're putting yourself in a position to be lucky.”

Wilbon said when working on a case he always thinks about protecting his family and loved ones, and how he would want someone to look out for them.

He said when particular cases are frustrating he looks to the examples of his fellow officers who do their best not to get discouraged. “The majority of the police work we do is based on prevention and team work,” Wilbon said. “It's just a matter of being on the right team.”
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