Law enforcement and judicial officials were recognized at Mothers Against Drunk Driving's 3rd annual "Take The Wheel" recognition luncheon on Wednesday.
"I'm so excited to see so many in the community who support local law enforcement," said Leslie Watson, executive director of MADD East Texas. "It's a real testament to East Texas."
The "Take The Wheel" campaign is funded by the Texas Department of Transportation and is designed to raise awareness of the community commitment needed to stop drunken driving, according to information from MADD. Through this campaign, MADD aims to enlist the support of city officials, law enforcement, schools, businesses and other community members to work together collaboratively to eliminate drunken driving in Texas.
Several awards were given at the luncheon. Detective Mike Lazarine of the Lindale Police Department received the Alcohol Education Award. Sergeant Detective Chad McElyea of the Lindale Police Department received the Leadership Award.
Several law enforcement officers were recognized with Outstanding Service Awards. The recipients were Sergeant Carlos Flores of the Lindale Police Department; K-9 Officer Steven Anderson of Bullard Police Department; K-9 Officer Todd Spakes of Overton Police Department; Officer Andrew Mackey of Tyler Police Department; State Trooper Ryan Thompson, Richard Hoover, Trevor Phillips and David Anthony of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
"I think of each of you as a hero," said Laura Dean-Mooney, MADD's national president from 2008 to 2011. "You may not think of yourself that way, but in my eyes and in MADD's eyes, what you do is truly heroic."
There were also several prosecutors who were recognized with the Prosecutor Service Awards. TDCCA DWI Resource Prosecutor Clay Abbott of the Texas District and County Attorney's Association; Assistant District Attorney Chris Gatewood of the Smith County District Attorney's Office; Assistant District Attorney Jacob Putman of the Smith County District Attorney's Office were all recognized.
Judge Floyd Getz of the Smith County Court at Law No. 3 received the Judiciary Service Award.
MADD also created a new award category this year, the Community Champion Awards. Brookshire Grocery Company, the Hispanic Services Center and a volunteer named Corinne Ford were all recognized.
MADD's next awards luncheon, "Tie One on For Safety," which reminds residents to tie a red ribbon to their vehicle to prevent holiday drinking and driving, will be held Nov. 9, Ms. Watson said.