Littleton Elks bestow annual awards

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The Littleton Elks 2013 Citizen of the Year praised the organization for exhibiting the behavior it was rewarding at its annual banquet March 23.

“You don’t just look at your own narrow life, you take that extra effort to make a difference,” said Susan Beckman, who did just that through her 15 years as an elected official, first on Littleton City Council and then as an Arapahoe County Commissioner.

“Susan touched nearly every issue that affects our lives,” said Littleton Mayor Debbie Brinkman. “She sees a problem as an opportunity and jumps into it.”

Each year, the Littleton Elks gather for a big Italian feast to pay tribute to men and women who dedicate their lives to serving the community. In addition to honoring a citizen, they recognize first responders and give scholarships to deserving students.

This year’s Arapahoe County Deputy of the Year is Jason Bacon, who launched his career in law enforcement in the Boy Scouts’ Explorer program. He joined the sheriff’s department in 1996, and has been on the SWAT team for 16 years.

“I work with 700 great people, and they don’t get better than Jason,” said Undersheriff Dave Walcher.

The Littleton Police Officer of the Year earned the award in the nick of time, just a week before his retirement after 35 years at the department.

Ann Marie Dinkel of the Elks praised Detective Russ Hoffman’s knowledge, ethics and courage in solving crimes, like the murder of young Anthony Davalos in February 2000 and the slaying of Barbara Parker on Valentine’s Day in 2004. Parker’s husband, Gregory, is serving a 60-year sentence for her murder.

“They appear easy to solve on TV, but we all know that’s not the case,” said Dinkel.

Littleton Fire Rescue Officer of the year Bryon Barr and EMS of the Year Jens Pietrzyk were unable to attend the ceremony, which went on despite one of the biggest snowstorms of the year, but they both demonstrate dedication and passion for their jobs.

Heritage High School student Ryan Greenway, who earned the Elks National Federation scholarship, took a moment in his acceptance speech to thank the first responders in the room.

“Littleton’s a very safe, tight-knit community because of your efforts,” he said.

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