New Bern police, Fire-Rescue members honored in first-ever joint ceremony

NEW BERN, NC (WITN) - The city of New Bern brought members of the Police Department and Fire-Rescue Department together to honor both their professional and personal achievements in a joint recognition ceremony.

As family members pinned badges to their newly promoted loved ones, it's was the first time both police and fire personnel shared the honor together.

"I'm excited about it. It's neat. It's the first time we've ever really participated in a ceremony like this or anything," said Fire Engineer Walton Ashley Jones.

Gareth McDaniel of the New Bern Fire Department received his promotion from Fire Specialist to Fire Engineer. On Monday, he became one of many public safety employees recognized for their professional advancement.

"It's a bit of a reward. Like you said, seeing all of the work you put in finally paying off and be able to be promoted to it," McDaniel said.

Walton Ashley Jones, who was honored with the Civitan Firefighter of the Year Award, talks about why he does what he does.

"It's just the enjoyment of being able to help somebody on a daily basis. Somebody's always got it worse than you do and you're just trying to make the best out of a situation as you can."

On the police side, Detective Sharice Garrard is recognized with the Civitan Officer of the Year Award.

A New Bern high school graduate, Gerrard takes great pride in serving the community she calls home.

"It's personal to me. We can't change the world but we can change our community, and do all we can to help the people around us."

Garrard, who takes part in multiple programs at her church, in addition to leading hurricane recovery efforts, add that the award will simply motivate her to do even more.

"I know that going forward this will just fuel the fire to want to help other people and go above what's required of me as a police officer."

At Monday's ceremony, the city of New Bern also recognized a new addition to their Animal Control Department, as well at two new telecommunicators for the city.